Does Sunshine Foster Innovation?

GH croissant

Well, it’s Saturday morning. The sun is shining brilliantly. It’s a welcome change, for the east coast has had winter snow storms during each of the past three weekends.

I grabbed the above morning croissant and cappuccino at an awesome coffee place in my town.  As I read from my iPad, I noticed that the place filled up quickly, which is unusual.

And, people were smiling and chatty, even with strangers. Then, I wondered: is this all because of the sun?  IMO, I think it has a lot to do with it.

Then, I wondered: does sunshine and the good ensuing mood foster innovation? I think starting a company is easy, but making it successful is really hard. There are many joys, but also, many dark moments.

So, I wonder if places like Silicon Valley have a lot of innovation because the weather creates a mood of optimism? Or, is the rate of innovation seasonal in places like Boston, NYC and Seattle? I’d be interested in any data, if people have run across any.

In the meantime, hope you’re enjoying a sunny Saturday.

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2 thoughts on “Does Sunshine Foster Innovation?

  1. This is quite interesting observation, Jo. I don’t know if there is any study or empirical evidence but intuitively it makes sense. Having lived and worked in warm and sunny India, i sometimes struggle to stay motivated enough in London’s cloudy and wet weather.

  2. “I wonder if places like Silicon Valley have a lot of innovation because the weather creates a mood of optimism? Or, is the rate of innovation seasonal in places like Boston, NYC and Seattle?”

    Ah, intriguing idea. My first reaction was to wonder if this is a 2nd or 3rd order effect. Perhaps not a direct link between nice weather = mood of optimism. But rather nice weather = nicer place to live, and folks who are smart enough and ambitious enough to ignore inertia and relocate to that area of nicer weather are more likely to be entrepreneurial, or at least willing to take the risk of joining a start-up.

    As for data on whether weather affects happiness, the research seems to go both ways — and I’d toss in a caution about causation/correlation:

    “Sunlight had a main effect on tiredness and mediated the effects of precipitation and air pressure on tiredness. In terms of explained variance, however, the average effect of weather on mood was only small, though significant random variation was found across individuals, especially regarding
    the effect of photoperiod.”
    http://plone.psychologie.hu-berlin.de/prof/perdev/pdf/2008/Denissen_Weather_Mood_2008.pdf

    “DOES LIVING IN CALIFORNIA MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY?” “Medi-
    ation analyses showed that satisfaction with climate and with cultural
    opportunities accounted for the higher overall life satisfaction pre-
    dicted for Californians. Judgments of life satisfaction in a different
    location are susceptible to a focusing illusion: Easily observed and
    distinctive differences between locations are given more weight in
    such judgments than they will have in reality”
    http://psiexp.ss.uci.edu/research/teaching/Schkade_Kahneman_1998.pdf

    “Using a panel-corrected least squares approach the paper demonstrates that, even when controlling for a range of other factors, climate variables have a particularly powerful effect on self reported levels of happiness. Furthermore there is a correspondence between the findings that emerge from this analysis and earlier studies with respect to what constitutes a preferred climate. ”
    http://www.mi.uni-hamburg.de/fileadmin/fnu-files/publication/working-papers/FNU20.pdf

    vty,

    –Dennis

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