When I used to code and had to focus, I needed a quiet room without interruptions but today when I write far more than I code, I find that working in a coffee-shop is more conducive to my thinking and writing.
I have often commented or reflected on this phenomenon
and recently tripped over some research that shows that the background noise of a coffee shop may be helping to boost my creativity.
There is even a website Coffitivity that recreates the ambient sounds of a café supposedly to boost your creativity and help you work better. Give it a whirl and see if it works for you - not so sure it does for me - it just gets annoying after a few minutes :-)
But I think there is more to the café environment than just the noise of the background chatter - it's the distractions of people as they come and go that seem to inspire me.
Being highly social, I like to take the opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone - often not for long, but long enough, for my mind, to relax and change state so that when I return to my writing, I see things in a new light.
I like to be able to observe and interact with people as and when I choose.
So I thought I would Google to see if there was any research to support the idea that distractions boosted creativity and sure enough there was:
Inspired by Distraction; Mind Wandering Facilitates Creative Incubation
and here too The Right Distractions Can Boost Creativity.
Though maybe I could find research to support any hypotheses I might have :-)
But seriously, I think there is a great deal in this and I think the distractions of the noise and bustle and social interaction of a Knowledge Café have a positive impact on the conversations and the creativity of the people taking part.
There is some research to support this also.
I am always on the lookout for research concerning conversation - do let me know if you are aware of any.