Need ideas? Get out of the office and into the nearest coffee shop
Best-selling author J.K. Rowling is said to have written parts of her first novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, in a coffee shop. She may have been on to something. Research by the University of Illinois suggests that the amount of noise generated by the typical coffee shop may be conducive to creativity.
Participants in the study were asked to brainstorm product ideas in environments with differing levels of noise. The results: When subjected to about 70 decibels of constant noise—or approximately the level of hubbub found in your local Starbucks—the participants were more creative than they were in the relative quiet of 50 decibels or the louder disruption of 85 decibels. According to Fast Company magazine, the researchers theorize that while quiet reinforces the ability to focus on a task, it does so at the expense of creative thought. The 70-decibel threshold apparently creates a mild amount of distraction, just enough to force your mind to process thoughts and ideas in a more abstract, imaginative way.
So don’t overdose on the caffeine, but do think about moving to the nearest coffee spot the next time you need to think up something inspiring.