Jeffrey Baumgartner

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Cartoon: Want innovation? Introduce some chaos into your business

Introduce a Bit of Chaos to Your Business

By Jeffrey Baumgartner

Creative ideas are the result of two or more apparently unrelated concepts coming together in a way that solves a problem or achieves a goal. The more diverse the separate thoughts are, the more creative the resulting idea usually is.

This is probably why a lot of extremely creative people, such as artists, scientists and writers are also very disorganised people. The absent minded scientist often benefits from this weakness. In his mind, all kinds of thoughts are coming together, checking each other out and moving on. When an idea results, the scientist tries it out. The chaos in his mind may leave him absent minded, but it helps him think more creatively.

Too Much Structure

Unfortunately, from a creativity point of view, the corporate world is moving towards ever more structure. Formatted reports, data analysis tools, productivity tools, databases and just about every tool used in the corporate world tends to organise data in structured ways. These tools are designed to reduce chaos and instill order.

Moreover, companies tend to hire people who fit narrow, industry-specific profiles and, in larger organisations, job descriptions are becoming increasingly focused on very narrow specialisations. The result is an environment that is highly ordered, promotes conformity  and is becoming increasingly less conducive to creativity and innovation. This is not a good thing

While it is indeed important to put order to chaos is, especially when businesses are collecting masses of data every day, it is also important sometimes to put a little chaos to your order − particularly if you want novel, innovative ideas. Chaos brings together dissimilar thoughts, concepts and bits of information, providing the mind with all kinds of creative possibilities.


The question is, how to bring a little chaos to an organisation without destroying the efficiency that is necessary for operations? Here are some suggestions...

At the Organisational Level:

At the Individual Level:

If You Want to Push Chaos Further...

Indeed, any action that disrupts typical day to day activities in your work can also bring a little chaos and fresh thinking. And that leads to creativity.

Go on, give it a try.


This is an updated version of an article that originally appeared in the 15 August 2006 issue of Report 103.


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Jeffrey Baumgartner
Bwiti bvba

Erps-Kwerps (near Leuven & Brussels) Belgium




My other web projects

My other web projects 100s of articles, videos and cartoons on creativity - possibly useful things I have learned over the years. reflections on international living and travel. - paintings, drawings, photographs and cartoons by Jeffrey