Van Lai-DuMone Explains How Creativity Workshops Can Increase Creativity in the Workplace, Episode 87

Wondering what the heck happened to your creativity? Where did it go? You may have started life out as a child joyfully playing with Legos, or maybe you were more of a finger painter. Now, you’re surrounded by Excel spreadsheets – and they’re not even the color coded ones! If you feel like your creative juices are just not flowing, then you’ve got to tune in to today’s episode as Van Lai-DuMone talks about bringing creativity into the workplace. 

We are all innately curious and creative, therefore good ideas can come from any level of an organization. And by cultivating ideas and sharing them in the workplace, everyone has a chance to have their voice heard. This is the foundation of Van’s work as the Founder of worksmART, a progressive team development and leadership training company that activates creativity and experiential learning to enrich company culture and skyrocket performance. 

Born in Vietnam and raised in Southern California, after her family fled Vietnam as war refugees, Van watched her parents pave a new life for themselves. She saw, first-hand, how creative thinking, innovation, and curiosity can help people overcome their circumstances. Van shares this story in her TEDx Talk titled, What if? The Life Changing Power of Curiosity

Van studied Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and earned her MBA from Pepperdine University. With over 15 years of corporate and start-up experience, Van actively works to rewrite the way we apply creativity in the workplace, inviting clients to think with their hands and use right brain creative tools to disrupt traditional training methods. Her clients include game changers such as Google, LinkedIn, and Pandora.

Share this episode with someone who thinks they’ve lost touch of their fun and creative side and perhaps who needs a nudge to remind them that they’re not just a boring adult who’s not allowed to play. This is an informative conversation your friend will appreciate hearing from an MBA who has made fun core to her business model. 


  • Courage: Assuming you are making a huge pivot might be all in your head, just take small steps until you’re able to build on your courage muscle. Van had taken small courageous steps to build her confidence and knowledge.
  • Curiosity: Say yes to opportunities when they arise whether you’re ready or not. 
  • Creativity in the workplace: Allowing people to build with their hands and think with their hands (ex. Lego and Playdough) taps into a part of their brain that you can’t tap into just by speaking ideas. 
  • Presence: Building and creating with your hands keeps people present and engaged in the moment.
  • Empowerment: Give everyone a chance to have their voice heard in the workplace.
  • Innovation: You can’t innovate unless you allow for creativity in the workplace. Creativity is allowing people to share ideas, express their opinions, put things on the table, even wild and crazy ideas. And then from those ideas, you can move into innovation. Hence, there’s no innovation without creativity. 
  • Experiential learning: Through Van’s workshops, you allow for creativity in an experiential way to the learning topics so people can learn these topics in a way that makes sense to them.
  • Take the leap: Enough of doing things halfway, right. If you want to own your own business and you’ve had this idea in your head, it’s time to go for it. 
  • Convergent thinking: Everyone’s ideas are on the table but you’re laying out the parameters and the criteria you’re working under. It builds psychological safety and trust, and it levels the playing field. 
  • Play: Play is a huge part of a child’s development, how they learn, and how they negotiate socially. And when did that change in adulthood? Therefore, play has to be put back into the workplace or make it almost normal in the workplace because that’s how they learn best.
  • Capacity: Look at creativity as a capacity that we all have. No matter where you are in that capacity, you can always grow it. The process of allowing yourself the freedom and the time to just be expressive is where the learning comes in and ideas come into play. It doesn’t matter what the end result is.
  • Anxiety: Creativity opens up possibilities that relieve anxiety. It has the capacity to turn challenge or anxiety into opportunity to possibility.
  • Self-awareness: Reflect on what brought you joy as a child that you’ve probably lost as an adult that you can bring back now.

Links to continue to learn from Van Lai-DuMone:

If you have a book launch, movie launch, or any event you want to promote join Van’s Curious About Creativity Newsletter to stay updated on upcoming events: 

Watch Van’s TEDx Talk titled, What if? The Life Changing Power of Curiosity

Follow and connect with Van Lai-DuMone:

Continue to listen to An Interview With Melissa Llarena podcast episodes 

Continue To Explore My Other Binge-Worthy Episodes

Books mentioned

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Want to continue the conversation?

Find me on Instagram! You can read my daily mini-blogs centered on the same three topics that my podcast features: creativity, courage, and curiosity. I believe that without all three it would be impossible to solve the challenges we were each uniquely made to solve. Wouldn’t you agree? I’m easy to find on Instagram @melissallarena

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa Llarena is an author, imagination coach, consultant, speaker, and contributor to ForbesWomen articles that have garnered 4 million + views. She is also the host of Unimaginable Wellness, the podcast for entrepreneurs, founders, and creators who are also moms. Featured guests include GaryVee and Beth Comstock. Melissa holds a psychology degree from New York University, an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and a Transformational Coaching Academy certificate. She is training to become a meditation practitioner. Melissa lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and three sons. Visit

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