It has to be said that a good strong cup of Coffee in the morning, before work can spring us into action for the day ahead. Although I have to admit since introducing the 'Coffee Shop Experience' into my daily working life, it has enabled me to unleash that extra level of creativity on a project. My realisations are below:
The Problem: To enhance creativity, how quiet or noisy should our workplace be?
Methodology: Researchers led by Ravi Mehta conducted five experiments to understand how ambient sounds affect creative cognition. In one key trial, they tested people's creativity at different levels of background noise by asking participants to brainstorm ideas for a new type of mattress or enumerate uncommon uses for a common object.
Results: Compared to a relatively quiet environment (50 decibels), a moderate level of ambient noise (70 dB) enhanced subjects' performance on the creativity tasks, while a high level of noise (85 dB) hurt it. Modest background noise, the scientists explain, creates enough of a distraction to encourage people to think more imaginatively.
Conclusion: The next time you are stumped for ideas on a creative challenge, head to the nearest bustling Coffee shop, not the library! Instead of burying oneself in a quiet room trying to figure out a solution, walking out of one's comfort zone and getting into a relatively noisy environment may trigger the brain to think abstractly, and thus generate creative ideas.