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Brilliance@Work: Interactive Creativity Expert Gillian Ferrabee

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Photo: James Lee, Chester, NH, USA

Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar people and their best practices at work. We’re kicking off 2017 by featuring brand, design and marketing strategy experts to help you “thrive in the new brand reality.”


Gillian Ferrabee

During FUSE 2017, renowned performance artist Gillian Ferrabee will lead an experiential workshop that introduces creative interactivity and shows why understanding how people play is essential to creating customer engagement and loyalty.

For over 20 years, Gillian has been a performer, creative leader and coach for artists and entrepreneurs. Most recently, Gillian was the Director of the Creative Lab for Cirque du Soleil Media, where she created original content for the international film, TV and new media markets, in collaboration with various partners such as Netflix, Google Chrome, Fox Studios and Samsung.

As a preview to her presentation, Gillian shares her insights on the value of play:

Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: How did your experiences in dance and acting shape your character and career?
Gillian Ferrabee: Through dance I learned how powerful body-to-body communication is. Over 70% of what we understand in communication is visual, and our bodies are a big part of that. Dance is also a career that requires a very high level of commitment initially, and of re-commitment over and over. I learned a lot about the power of commitment and built inner resilience. Through acting I learned about the subtle interplay between audience and performer, and the flow of attention that occurs during a live performance.

PB: What are the main thoughts around the science of creative interactivity?
Creative interactivity is about agency, play and rhythm. Agency is the amount of recognition and impact given to each party in an interaction. Play describes a state of being, rather than an activity. It is the most natural way to learn, to invent and to socialize. Rhythm refers to the movement of attention between the parties interacting – how fast is it? How even is it? Is anyone leading? Following? How much room is there for improvisation?

PB: How is gamification essential to creating customer engagement and loyalty?
Gamification is about play and fun – two things that most people value highly even if they aren’t completely aware of it. We are wired for play and fun, and come back to it over and over. We also identify with our ‘tribe’ through our play styles.

PB: What do you see as the next phase of gamification as it relates to brand strategy?
I am by no means a brand strategist; that being said, what I see is that when a brand can ‘let go of the reins’ and invite their customers/clients/target audience more room to play within the conversation, that is a winning relationship. Listen and toss back (reply), then listen and innovate and toss back (reply).

PB: What will people gain from attending your conference workshop?
People will learn about the science of play, creativity and our brains. They will learn the eight key play styles and how to engage people from each of them. And they will play themselves and together with others, which it turns out is the best way to learn.

Want to hear more from Gillian? Join us at FUSE 2017. Learn, network and share best practices with the most influential leaders in brand, design and marketing. Stay connected at #FUSEdesign.