Creative environment


Just re-reading Warren Bennis’ book on ‘Organizing Genius’ and came across his observation that great creative teams tend to do their most brilliant collaborative work in “spartan, even shabby surroundings”.  He adds that many pioneering companies (such as Walt Disney, Hewlett-Packard and Apple) began life in garages.

Nigel May Barlow, author of a great book on creative thinking called “re-think”, begs to differ.  He proposes “If you see ugliness around you, you will tend to behave in an uglier way.  Several studies have shown that if you put people, even educated teenagers, in a shabby environment, they will tend to take on the attributes of their surroundings, in some cases trashing it even further.”

What kind of setting do you need to be creative?  Beautiful and calm, or mildly chaotic and less distracting?