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Want to Be Creative? Be Happy!

creativity

Cognitive science has become one of my favorite non-technical subjects during the last year. For the last few months, I have been reading a ridiculous amount of books and research papers about different cognitive science subjects ranging from psychology to neurosciences. It never ceases to amaze me how a basic understanding of human’s reactions can help us to make better decisions in the business world or influence the culture of an organization. A great example of this are some fascinating studies that a good friend sent me about some of the elements that influence creativity.

Creativity is one of the most important aspects of successful entrepreneurs. The ability to make creative decisions can influence different aspects of a company ranging from a product design to the culture of an organization. However, creativity is rarely constant. Sometimes individuals can make incredibly creative decisions but that creativity seems to dissipate at times.

Influencing people’s creativity is not an easy task and certainly not one that has a magic answer. However, cognitive science teaches us that there is a very simple factor that can help to increase creativity: happiness!

Yes, you read it right. It turns out that there is a direct correlation between being happy and what psychologists call “intuitive performance”. By that fancy term, scientist refer to people’s ability of making accurate, intuitive and creative decisions. As a lot of studies prove, when in a good mood, people are more likely to make intuitive and creative decisions. Following that argument, it’s pretty clear that we can influence people’s creativity by fomenting an environment and a culture that makes them happy.

However, some other unexpected things derivate from the effects of being in a good mood. It also turns out that, while undoubtedly creative, people that are in a good become less vigilant, analytical and more prone to logical errors. A good mood, is obviously a sign that things are going in the right direction in certain aspects which makes the brain be at a “cognitive ease” state on which we are more relaxed but also less analytical or vigilant.

There you have it, happy people are more creative but can also be less analytical!

Hmmm….interesting dilemma…..

Not really!

From a company culture standpoint, I will always pick creativity and happiness every time. I am convinced is a better formula to win in the long run.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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20 Years of SMS: Great Technologies Transcend the Times

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the first sent SMS message. Specifically, the target message was sent from a PC to a mobile device over Vodafone’s UK network. The text of the message was very simple “Merry Christmas” and the recipient couldn’t reply because, well, the mobile device wasn’t equipped with SMS technology.

The invention of the SMS technology is attributed to a group of engineers led by Matti Makkonen was has come to be known as the “reluctant father of SMS” given his position to never take full credit for the invention of the technology.

20 years is a very long time in the technology ecosystem. In 20 years, we have witnessed multiple revolutions in the mobile and telecommunications world and yet SMS is still standing as one of the fundamental pieces of any Telco technology stack. As far as user experiences go, SMS is as simple as it gets; infrastructure wise, SMS requires an incredible robust network pipeline to ensure the correct delivery of messages. The ability of surface a complex infrastructure using simple and intuitive user experiences and open programming interfaces that can be blended into different technology stack are part of the core DNA of world-changing technologies.

At its core, SMS is an infrastructure technology. I am of the firm opinion that the best infrastructure technologies have the ability of “disappearing” behind simple user experiences. Every day, we used technologies like Twitter, GPS or simple phone calls without thinking about the infrastructure powering our user experience. Simplicity and openness gives great infrastructure technologies the ability of transcending the times and changing the world.

Regardless of its many technical merits, 20 years is still a long time for a technology. Congrats to Matti Makkonen on the 20th anniversary of SMS. 8 trillion messages after, we still need to thank him for giving us a technology that has transcended the times. 

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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