You Want Creative? Then Get Into a Good Mood

If creativity in the organisation features in your leadership vision, you must read this. A top team of researchers from Harvard and three other top US universities found concrete evidence that creative thought is consistently preceded by being in a good mood.

The reason why this study matters is that it wasn’t conducted in a lab or some other experimental setting, but in the workplace where people were using creative thinking to solve problems in their work. They analysed over 11,000 daily diaries kept by 222 employees in seven companies over a long period of time, and found ‘consistent evidence of a positive relationship between positive emotion and creativity’. These people weren’t relentlessly positive and there was plenty of evidence of negative moods – but they didn’t find a negativity-creativity link.

Then there was more…the people who’d been creative experienced more positive emotion and there was some evidence that the reaction of others to the creativity caused more positivity as well; a potentially powerful organisational effect.

So how could you encourage your team to be in a good mood?

Research source: Teresa M. Amabile, Harvard University; Sigal G. Barsade, University of Pennsylvania; Jennifer S. Mueller, New York University; Barry M. Staw, University of California at Berkeley (2005). Affect and Creativity at Work.

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