Brainstorming Your Team to Happiness


By Laura Bollinger-Moore


Have you ever spent hours focusing on finding a solution to a project issue, only to end up feeling completely stymied?  Then you step away to take a walk with a colleague where you talk about the issue and brainstorming solutions, and suddenly the solution becomes perfectly clear?  If so, you are not alone.  There are two things that happen there: first, by focusing elsewhere your brain opens up and can freely processes subconsciously, the issue at hand (a subject that may be the subject of a subsequent article) and second, you are brainstorming, which has been found to be an incredibly valuable endeavor.  Researchers (hereby referred to as “the  researchers”) found that brainstorming is incredibly helpful, resulting in feelings of elation and creativity and to a lesser degree, increased energy and feelings of empowerment (Scientific America Mind, Feb/Mar 2009).


The researchers asked participants to generate as many problem solving ideas as possible, good and bad, in 10 minutes, while either reading a series of ideas on a computer screen or watch a video clip of I Love Lucy on fast forward.  These tasks forced the participants to think quickly.  Other participants performed similar tasks, but at a relaxed speed.

According to Emily Pronin, the study’s lead author, activities that promote fast thinking can boost mood and energy.  There are a few caveats however; fast but repetitive thinking can create anxiety (and in bi-polar individuals, can translate into manic feelings).

Pronin and associates theorize that that this effect could be due to expectations; that is, most people equate fast thinking to being energetic and/or in a good mood; thus if we’re thinking quickly, we must be in a good mood.  Additionally, fast thinking may tap into the body’s dopamine system which is involved in sensations of pleasure and reward.

Keep in mind that these effects are temporary; however they may be just what are needed to get your project team through a rough spot.


To read entire paper (click here)

About the Author

Laura Bollinger-Moore


Laura Bollinger-Moore, PMP, M.A. Social Psychology, MOM, has an eclectic background that includes not only her work in the Telecom industry in such fields as Project Management, Regulatory, Human Resources, Customer Service and Operations, but also outside of Telecom as a Clinical Psychology Researcher and a Social Worker. Currently, Laura is a Senior Research Analyst in Consumer Competitive Intelligence at AT&T, managing multiple simultaneous research projects and providing foresight into, and analysis on, trends and fads, as well as cutting edge upcoming technology. Laura lives in California with her husband Lorin, and their two amazing daughters Lily Faye and Layla Blue.  Laura can be contacted at [email protected]