Lately I’ve been thinking about the future of work, and this morning I remembered this excerpt from one of my favorite design books.
Positive emotions are critical to learning, curiosity, and creative thought, and today research is turning toward this dimension. … The psychologist Alice Isen and her colleagues have shown that being happy broadens the thought processes and facilitates creative thinking. When you feel good, Isen discovered, you are better at brainstorming, at examining multiple alternatives. … We have long known that when people are anxious they tend to narrow their thought processes, concentrating upon aspects directly relevant to a problem. This is a useful strategy in escaping from danger, but not in thinking of imaginative new approaches to a problem. Isen’s results show that when people are relaxed and happy, their thought processes expand, becoming more creative, more imaginative.– Don Norman, Emotional Design