Research at Rice - September 2004 - "Bad, rather than positive, moods may spur creativity under certain conditions" - In an article in the Journal of Applied Psychology by Jennifer George and Jing Zhou of Rice University's Jesse H Jones Graduate School of Management - it seems that positive moods may not, in fact, encourage creativity. Rather, negative moods may actually enhance it more effectively than positive moods.
The report focuses on the relationship between employees' moods and the conditions or context in which they perform their tasks, the role of recognition and rewards, and the extent to which employees know and understand their feelings.
Their results suggest that, dependant on several factors, employees may use their current mood to judge their progress on a creative task - "good moods signal that good progress has been made and that current efforts are sufficient" says George.
Although far from conclusive as the data was based on questionnaires and rating forms from only 67 helicopter company employees - hardly overwhelming - this actually supports soon to be published work by Imaginatik Research based on interviews with 45 managers and consultants that suggest that managers in the current innovation economy face a tough task ahead of them.
One the one hand, in order to encourage the collaborative and knowledge-sharing environment that is necessary to achieve an effective innovation climate, employees must be happy within their environment and with the company they are working for - with confidence that their creative and collaborative work is desired, valued, and of actual implemented value to the company.
On the other hand, in order to be motivated to innovate around a subject, there must be a certain amount of dissatisfaction with the status quo around that subject in order for people to be motivated to be creative and come up with alternative solutions. Keep an eye out for the new research when it comes out in the Corporate Innovation Newsletter and also at http://www.imaginatik.com/research