The hallmark of a really effective brainstorming is an abundance of genuine and heartfelt laughter. There’s a reason for this: laughter can help people solve problems that demand creative solutions, by making it easier to think more broadly and associate ideas/relationships more freely. This is scientifically validated by recent research that shows that people in a lighter mood experience more eureka! moments and greater inspiration.
Karuna Subramaniam, in research she did when she was with Northwestern University, found that boosting the mood of volunteers increased their likelihood of having an aha! moment as measured by their ability to solve a word association puzzle, the standard test for creative problem solving. Those who watched a comedy were measurably better at the task using insight than those who watched a horror film, or worse yet, a lecture about quantum electronics.
The concept of hope has intrigued many scholars, including psychologists, philosophers, theologists, and doctors. Practitioners of virtually every healing art have recognized the importance of hope, which is probably the most important emotion underlying remission and well-being, and possibly for innovation too.
There are many questions about hope: Can we define it? Why do some individuals have more hope than others? Can hope be instilled or restored in those suffering from hopelessness? Finally, what is the value of hope—and for the purposes of this article, its value for innovators and entrepreneurs? How exactly does hope raise the ceiling of what is possible?
Just as humans evolve, so too does the process of innovation. Humanity is slowly getting better at it simply because our brainpower keeps growing. The theory of evolution proposes that as species evolve, they exhibit increasing diversity at every level of biological organization, all the way down to individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins. So it would make sense that the evolutionary process would express upwards as well as downwards, in humanity’s most complex survival skill – ideation.
Innovation guru John Kao proposed in his landmark book Jamming, that brainstorming is like making music – that if you enjoy some natural talent at inventing and combine it with some training and dedicated practice, you can someday become a "concert quality innovator" leading brainstorms that stimulate blissful co-invention, enable deep collaborative thinking, and produce ideas that can literally change the world.