15 May 2007

Don't Worry, Be Happy

I'm continuing my research on simplicity, complexity and design. It's for my Simplicity Cycle book, and I might even use it as part of my Systems Engineering thesis when I'm at AFIT this fall.

In my research, I came across Don Norman's book Emotional Design, which I mentioned yesterday. Here are a few quotes from the book which make me happy:

"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."

"Attractive things make people feel good, which in turn makes them think more creatively."

"[After completing a task,] tense and anxious people will complain about the difficulties whereas the relaxed, happy ones will probably not even remember them. In other words, happy people are more effective in finding alternative solutions and, as a result, are tolerant of minor difficulties."

Being happy broadens the thought processes? I guess that's why Buddah is always laughing.

And what's the connection between "attractive things" and simplicity? In a word: elegance.


Mark said...

I've found that when facilitating group brainstorming sessions, some fun "warm ups" go a long way toward encouraging creative, positive interactions. It sometimes seems counterintuitive, but if a particularly intense, time-limited session is upcoming, it is a good idea to "waste" a few minutes doing some silly brain teasers, optical illusions, or icebreakers. I guess these help bring out some of that happiness...

Dan said...

And in fact, that's one of the examples he gives in the book. Fun is a great (i.e. highly effective) way to start off a brainstorming session!

dad said...

Hi Dan: ditto to both you and Mark.... a little fun and a little humor and a few jokes during the first 5 mins, always helped for all the military staff mtgs I ever attended or led..... amen to both of you!.....good job....Dad