That’s Funny

That's Funny

What is the That’s Funny story tactic?

You can tell a great story about your project by finding "That’s funny ... " moments in your work.

The sci-fi genius Isaac Asimov once said that the most exciting phrase to hear in science is not "Eureka" but "That’s funny ... "This is the sound of unexpected insights, snagging in your brain. Funny ha-ha or funny peculiar, either way these moments are gold-dust for your story!

Funny moments can emerge as old systems break down. Check Order & Chaos for signs of change.

How to use the That’s Funny story tactic

Look back over your project. Did you have any of these "that’s funny ... " moments?

Funny ha-ha

Laughter is the emotional reward for discovering our own misconceptions. It's the sound of our brains rapidly rebuilding a conceptual model to make sense of the world. For example: "My dog's got no nose.""How does he smell?""Awful!

  • What made you laugh about your project (a belly laugh, a contemptuous snort or just a wry smile)?
  • What made other people laugh?
  • How did your conceptual model of the world change?

Funny peculiar

When have you found something strange or odd as you've worked through this project?

  • Contradictions. Either your data or your assumptions are wrong. Which old model of the world should you question when things don't fit?
  • Coincidences. Finding unexpected connections is like joining the dots. What new model of the world might you need to build if this is not just random?

Acting funny

Is someone acting out of character?

  • What does this say about your expectations about them?
  • Do you need a new model to explain this behaviour?
  • Use What’s My Motivation? to go deeper into character.

Use Data Detectives to tell the story of your insight.

Credit: G.Klein, Seeing What Others Don't.

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