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Protect your absurdity! Year of the Monkey Conference 2016Silke Facilides & Steffen FischerGrabarz & Partner

SILKE: - IntroductionWe are here to talk about absurdity. We believe in the power of absurdity. Not only for Kafka-Fans, but also in communication and businesses. Those of you who liked the title probably also do. So lets have a short look on absurdity and then work out some tools, share experience on how to protect your absurdiy in your organisation. You got these little turtles. We will explain to you later why it is a turtle not a monkey- but we hope, that at the end of the ws you have 1-4 ideas on how to pretect your absurdity on the back of this turtle. Lets get started. 2

Humans have the privilege to behave absurdly.

Besides monkeys which throw stones against treesWithout any obvious reason!

SILKE:Absurdity is a priviledge! As Thomas Hobbes said: Only humans have the priviledge of absurdity. (Thomas Hobbes)Apart from monkeys: I read this year about monkeys throwing stones at trees. For no obvious logical reason. Biologists wonder about it, as animals normally dont do anything without reason.The monkey is the right animal for this issue.


Synonyms:crazyunreasonable silly

Absurdity is a great Countercurrent to logic.

Antonyms: logical reasonablerealistic

Picture credit: yasmary; James

SILKE:It is crazy, silly, but most important, it is not logical, not reasonable, not realistic: Absurdity, that are things, that seam to make no sense. Thats waht makes them so powerful.

Absurdity opened up literature for new forms of storytelling.Picture credit: Ian, Production Photos for Samuel Beckett's Play at the University of Calgary.

SILKE:Think of literature: Absurdity opened up for new forms of storygtelling by dissoluting time, space and even language.

Absurdity was the decisive impulse for art to be more than a reflection of the present.Picture credit: Jorge Jorquera.

SILKE: Decisive disruption for all art coming afterwards. WECHSEL AN STEFFEN


Absurdity is not only interesting in Arts, but also in communication and business.

STEFFEN:Absurdity is important in arts. But why is it so hard for absurdity in business? There are many successful examples for absurdity. 7

in Advertising: The caDbury Gorilla. Picture credit: Kate. Get the picture12+ Mio. views+20% people looking favourably on the brand+9% rise of sales

STEFFEN:The most effective advertisements are those with little or no rational content. Cadburys Gorilla now has an own wikipedia page (in english),


In Activation:the icebucket Challenge. Picture credit: Anthony Quintano> 220 Mio. US$ donations globally17 Mio. videos with > 1 billion views> 1000 prominent participants

STEFFEN:Absurdity is strong in the currency of attention and activation.The best and most important result: the research that was funded by these donations found a third gene that is responsible for ALS!


In Start-ups:Uber founded a taxi company without a single car. Picture credit: Ncleo Editorial> 1,5 billion US$ revenue6700 employees507 cities in 66 countries

STEFFEN:Many new digital businesses seem absurd at first sight: a taxi company not owning a taxia accomodation company not owning a bed

In prodUct innovation:Dyson created A vaccuum Cleaner without a vacuum bag.Picture credit: rc!Revenue > 1,74 billion GB Profit 448 Mio. GB> 3000 patents for > 500 inventions

STEFFEN:Great product innovations started with an absurd thought and you have to believe in it!Centrifugal separators have only been used in the industry until James Dyson decided to go that path.Today, this would be like a smartphone that you dont have to charge.


Creative thinkers love absurdity. Companies usually dont. CONTROLEXPLORATION ArtsInternetInnovation labsKPIs

ProcessMarket research

InternetCreative AgenciesInnovation labs

Picture credit:, UW Health

SILKE:Different ways of thinking and working: explorating, alternating, changing directions vs. Controled, Linear thinking

Source Foto 1:

Source Foto 2:

The challenge and Goal for today: Protect your absurdity.

SILKE:As strategists in an creative agency we deal with these two diffennt ways of thinking every day. And we know, an absurd thought has to be protected a long way down the road. 13

Protect your seemingly absurd ideas: Protect your absurd Idea turtle.

Picture credit: misheal pascual

SILKE:We looked for a methaphor for these seamingly absurd ideas. And we found a little absurd baby turtle hatched on a beach. Is has to go a long, perilous way to get to the sea.

The turtle has some natural enemies.

Picture credit: misheal pascual

SILKE:The Internal Feedback CrabMarket research vultureClient Feedback pigeonTime