Turns out, I might have been wrong. My neat desk may help me to be more productive, but his messy desk leads to better ideas!
I give Jumpin’ Jim a pretty hard time about his messy desk, but according to a new study from the University of Minnesota, it may actually inspire new ideas and promote creativity. “Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights,” said the study’s lead author, psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs. “Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.” This may explain why Jumpin’ Jim always wants to “wing it” and I prefer to have a plan.
The study, published in Psychological Science, also found that while an orderly desk promotes healthy eating (choosing an apple over a candy bar) and generosity (donating more to charity), businesses are craving more creativity not conventionality.