Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent book Blink describes an experiment where a psychologist called Samuel Gosling asked members of the public to rate college students against key personality traits on the sole basis of spending 15 minutes in their dorm rooms.
He found that these strangers were more accurate than the student’s own friends in rating the students on conscientiousness, emotional stability and their openness to new experiences.
Could this be applied to the work environment? Does a messy desk or office indicate to those around you a messy mind? Or is it a sign of creativity? Or is it all a load of nonsense?
My desk is (apparently) freakishly tidy, but I hope that people don’t imagine my thinking is just as unimaginative. Maybe there’s hope – Gosling’s research also discovered that these strangers weren’t nearly as good as the student’s friends in measuring how animated, talkative, outgoing and agreeable someone is.
I think in the end it comes back to us all needing the right space around us to help us think, whatever that space may be. Which brings me rather neatly back to Creative Spaces.