of what then, is an empty desk? (Albert Einstein)
Triggered by Nancy White’s comment I’m curious about the benefits of mess and stumbled over “A Perfect Mess” (by Eric Abrahamson and David H Freedman), a book about “The hidden benefits of disorder – how crammed closets, cluttered offices, and on-the-fly planning make the world a better place”.
While I started reading it, thinking this would be just a humorous self-defense of two messy authors, I found it really thought provoking and enjoyed the (slightly messy) read. They start by analyzing whether the effort of strictly organizing things (all the time and money spent filing and straightening things out) really pays off (their conclusion: It often doesn’t). So that’s the first step of admitting: Often it just doesn’t matter for the results, if something is a bit messy. Then they continue by exploring how people and organizations can actually benefit from mess:
“Specifically, messiness can confer six key benefits: flexibility, completeness, resonance, invention, efficiency, and robustness” (p78)