The Art of Creativity: What happens if you cross a monkey and a marlin?

Illustration @keastie

by Nyk Loates, Director, U-Collaborate

Today was a good day, working in one of our community zones in our office we got to connect with many different people, and hit them all with the same question all afternoon. The question soon spread between offices and onto our social media threads… the big question we were asking was, “what would you get if you crossed a monkey with a marlin?”

Some people just did not get it, some laughed, some said it was impossible and others stopped to talk and gave us an answer. All the answers were met with more questions, enabling people to engage in building a whole back story to how it happened (breeding, DNA splicing, blending, vivisection), where it lived (on land, in the ocean, in a swamp) and how would you draw it?

Some of our favourite answers to the monkey marlin conversation included:

Octopus – would it have hairy arms?

Markey – created when Karen (the Marlin) met Keith (the monkey) and grew up to live in the swamps of South America.

M and Ms – but what flavour?

We also got the joke, “what is yellow, smells of banana and sits at the bottom of the ocean? Monkey Marlin vomit!” Now clearly this also triggered the question, “does that mean it lives in the sea or was unwell on a boat?”

Some suggested that afternoon we had too much time on our hands.

For us, we were exploring the art of creativity.

A recent publication from the World Economic Forum suggested the top three skills in business in 2020 will be:

complex problem solving

critical thinking


What better way on a hot Thursday afternoon to practice creativity than through improvisation. A curious playful question can spark a great conversation and it can be kept alive through “next” questions that can only be improvised as they have to relate to the answer.

Monkey marlin was a playful way to explore creativity.

It made some people smile, more importantly it helped us sharpen our questioning skills that will ultimately help with creativity, critical thinking and problem solving as these top three skills for 2020 go hand in hand.

How do you practice your creativity?

What would you get if you crossed a monkey with a marlin?


2 thoughts on “The Art of Creativity: What happens if you cross a monkey and a marlin?

  1. In answer to the question …an angry ape and an angry fish with you continually looking over your shoulder – never wise to cross anybody. Alternatively we should be looking to build collaborations and understanding across differences.

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