Visiting Research Fellow Pablo Suarez Gives TEDx Talk on Using Humor for Humanitarian Work

Pablo Suarez, a Visiting Research Fellow at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, recently gave a TEDx talk in Modena, Italy, exploring how humor can help improve communication, build relationships, enhance problem solving, increase productivity, and strengthen leadership. Because risk management requires creative learning and dialogue, Suarez has been exploring humor as an unconventional approach to engage people and organizations in difficult conversations about what can go wrong and what can be done about it.

“The emergence of humor enables breakthroughs in how we collectively embark on learning and dialogue,” he said. “When talking about harnessing humor for humanitarian work, what I’m talking about is harnessing the superpowers of what we’re capable of doing when we experience fun that is functional for managing risks … When humor happens, it engenders trust between people or between people and ideas. And the changes we need happen at the speed of trust.”

Suarez’s work on humor and risk builds on his 2012 Pardee Center Report titled Games for a New Climate: Experiencing the Complexity of Future Risks, which was the result of a 12-member Task Force convened by the Pardee Center in collaboration with the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre. His work is now scaling up through collaborations with the World Bank Group, the National University of Singapore, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, and other organizations.

Watch his full TEDx talk above.