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Adi is a social business blogger and community manager that writes for sites such as Social Business News and Social Media Today. Away from the computer he enjoys cycling, particularly in the Alpes. Adi is a DZone Zone Leader and has posted 1133 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

The impact of Starbucks on your innovation

06.21.2013
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caffeineStarbucks have a decent reputation as a pretty innovative company.  They were one of the pioneers of online idea jams for instance, and have crowdsourced the reduction of waste in their business.

That may be grand and all, after all, we all can use a little inspiration now and then, some new research suggests that regular trips to Starbucks may be denting your employees creative urges.

The research explains that caffeine blocks the adenosine chemical inside the brain.  Adenosine acts to inhibit various chemicals within the brain, often therefore reducing our energy levels and helping us get to sleep.  So how does this affect our creativity?  Well it also affects our minds ability to wander.

Various studies have shown that a central part of the creative process is the ability to connect up seemingly disparate ideas, mashing them together into new and innovative mental collaborations.  In order to do this well, we need to give our brain the freedom to wander wherever it may go, and that's something that caffeine has a big impact on.

Rather than destroying our focus, it instead acts to laser our mind in on the task at hand.  That's great if you have something you need to concentrate on and need the energy to do it well.  Just so long of course that this something isn't coming up with new ideas.

Now of course, we are drinking coffee in ever greater numbers, whilst at the same time demanding heightened creativity from our employees, so what to do?  The answer may lie in a study conducted at the University of East London.  They found that so long as people think they're drinking real coffee, they get all the positive side effects of actually doing so.

So if you want the positive side of coffee, but also want your employees to be creative, it seems the answer is to serve them decaf but make them think it's the real deal.