Johnnie Moore

Caffeine versus creativity

Being creative is not all about stimulus
Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

sometimes less stimulation leads to better ideas

Transcript of this video:

I’d say the prevailing approach to creativity and indeed productivity in organisations is what I call the sugar and caffeine model. 

If things aren’t going to plan, if people aren’t being creative or productive enough, what they need is more stimulus, more coffee, more sweeties in the room, a more bright environment with loud post-it notes on the walls everywhere. 

Cut the breaks… introduce more exciting stimulus material as if we don’t live in a world that’s already extraordinarily stimulating. 

Not a month goes by where I live, without a new, lovely coffee shop opening… Go into most shops, and on the way to the checkout, you have to run the gauntlet of sweets in an effort to get you to consume more sugar. 

Social media, well, we all know what social media is like as a stimulant. 

But the researcher Keith Sawyer shared a study in which they looked at a group of people who they asked to report on a regular basis how creative they felt, and they plotted that against their workflow and whether they were objectively actually being creative or not. 

And guess what? On the days when they felt creative, they were simulated and probably stressed. They were producing fewer and poorer ideas. 

And on the days when they felt a bit bored and lethargic, those were the days when they were most creative. 

So next time you are experiencing any kind of productive or creative block, you might want to consider taking longer breaks or letting people go for a walk and, as I would put it, have a more unhurried space for ideas. 

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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