I met a head teacher from a primary school in Clevedon (Bristol) a while ago and we got talking about one of my favourite subjects, namely where people do their best thinking. I mentioned some of the usual suspects that I featured in my new book Future Minds – cathedrals, airplane windows, beaches, mountains, baths, showers, bed and so on.
I said that I felt that places such as these change how people think. Wrong he said. They change how people feel, which in turn changes how they think.
At the time I thought that this was an argument about semantics, but listening to a Ben Folds song this morning I’ve changed my mind. He is totally right.
Certain physical or aural environments (music is very good) do indeed change our mood, which in turn changes how we think or, more specifically, what we think about. The best word I can think of is elevate. Our thinking us pushed upwards to matters of importance.
Of course, one of the key questions, if you are trying to think about important things, is whether you should tap into positive or negative moods? I remember some research a while ago that said that people in good moods have good ideas. Personally, it’s the other way around. I don’t mean that depression feeds creativity (although in some people it does) but that a melancholy mood can spark some interesting ideas .
There are plenty of people talking about process when it comes to sparking creativity in organizations. A few people talk about environments too. Who is talking about the linkage between mood and creativity or innovation?