As this article shares Some of the most successful people in history have done their best work in coffee shops. Pablo Picasso, JK Rowling, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, Bob Dylan, or more recently Malcolm Gladwell are mentioned amongst many. But why? What does a coffee shop setting have to spark our creativity?
Being “outside”, outside of your usual place of work is one clear advantage to think in a fresh new way, less likely to repeat usual patterns. You and your team don’t see the same four walls or the same meeting room familiarity, you are hit with the stimuli of new surroundings. Additionally you are physically moving to a different place, and that in itself creates a stimuli, specially if the road to the cafeteria is short and in nice surroundings.
Furthermore things around you are moving, people are entering and existing and going to order.
Together with new scents, that special coffee you smell, everything stimulates more of your and your team’s senses and this pushes new creative triggers.
The ambient noise, as long as it is not too loud is good. “if you’re very slightly distracted from the task at hand by ambient stimuli, it boosts your abstract thinking ability, which can lead to more creative idea generation.”
If you usually work in an isolated place (e.g. your home office), then moving to a place where you will be sitting next to many others doing the same thing, either working or interacting, is more likely to encourage you to do the same “Just observing them can motivate you to work harder.”
Furthermore there is the informality: “let’s meet in a coffee place”, is a very different invitation then “let’s meet in the board room”. The tone will be more relaxed, the ideas will flow more freely and daringly.
So, not as an everyday working environment but for your creative sessions: try out that great cafeteria you pass by every day and in any case do take yourself and your team out of that usual office space for new ideas!