Last year, our sister site EETimes posted our first gallery of the messiest engineering desks, and we followed up earlier this year with one of our own. Our thought was, "The messier the desk, the more of a genius its owner must be."
We are putting the call out again. Send photos of your disheveled workspace, along with a short caption, to executive editor Jennifer Campbell, and we'll post the results on Designnews.com in the coming weeks.
"Those who subscribe to a Clean Desk Policy can never experience the delight of finding something that was thought to be irretrievably lost!" - Unknown.
Serendipity means a "happy accident" or "pleasant surprise"; specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it.
In fact, in the days I was still allowed to eat chocolate peanuts and raisins, I would tip the whole packet on my desk above my keyboard and, lo and behold, finding a stray one weeks later... tastes so much better!
I've had a number of conversations over the years and have found that some managers like to use "relocation" every couple years to keep the messy desks to a minimum. While I'm not one to win a competion such as this, I don't necessarily have neat little piles either. Just a happy medium. Since I have been doing some contract work lately, it does force a higher standard since you only bring what you really need.
Kid, my friend, I'm sorry I have to disagree a little on one point, my experience has been messy vs. clean are just two different strategies of organization. I do think this whole blog misses the point, our highly revered (rightfully so) engineering forefathers with the messy desks were able to find whatever it was they were looking for, or whatever it was someone asked them for. Clean or messy, Felix Unger or Oscar Madison, ask them for, say, that obscure nitnoid specification on that component released several years before and see how long it takes for them to find it. Felix would go digging through the numerous hanging files in the desk drawers, Oscar through the numerous piles on top of the desk.
Another offensive thing about this contest is the presumptuous position assumed by the "cleaners" in holding the darned thing! Cleaners are those who use organization method "A" (which they call "organized" or "clean"). They begin from a self-appointed position of authority from whence they chide others who use method "B" (which cleaners call "messy")
Bottom Line: What counts are RESULTS. Results are measured in fixed qualities of design and manufacturing, mesured in units of time, cost, and excellencies of performance. Those significant outputs are measured against specifications supplied by the customer, or by engineering standards, or by other fixed boundaries which transcend personal habits or preferences unrelated to the outcome.
They are not achieved by conformance to preconceived notions of "correct placement of desk objects during the design phase" especially when the placements are those postulated by others.If they were, we could simply glue down everyone's inkwell and desk calendar and go home. All designs would be excellent!
The units of production output which meet or exceed the requirements are quality...PERIOD. Further, rather than becoming suspect, the work habits of the person who achieves those excellent performance characteristics in T/C/E should be considered the norm. If type "B" results in lower cost, faster output, higher excellence, then type "B" (mess) should be "best practice" or "correct". Cleaners should be required to have type B (messy) desks!
To my knowledge, there is no additional measurement wherby the placement of objects on her desk later disqualifies the quality of the designer's output. This is true even if the object placment practice does not conform to a particular organization scheme favored by others (even majorities of others)
These spurious categories of work style and/or practices which do not bear on the measured outcomes of interest are nothing more than artificial constraints constructed by those who believe their job is mostly to achieve uniformity of behavior, not excellence of design. Truth be told, those uniformities are nothing more than make-work invented by that majority of persons in the workplace. That sad majority are those who are almost daily frightened to face the relatively blank slate of their actual creative capacities. They therefore fill in the blanks with organizational make-work, forming a veritable religion of organizational taboos and rituals with workers around them. They find their power in the fact that such substandard performers constitute the majority in many workplaces.
The promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that devices, gadgets, and appliances we use every day will be able to communicate with one another. This potential is not limited to household items or smartphones, but also things we find in our yard and garden, as evidenced by a recent challenge from the element14 design community.
If you didn't realize that PowerPoint presentations are inherently hilarious, you have to see Don McMillan take one apart. McMillan -- aka the Technically Funny Comic -- worked for 10 years as an engineer before he switched to stand-up comedy.
The first Tacoma Narrows Bridge was a Washington State suspension bridge that opened in 1940 and spanned the Tacoma Narrows strait of Puget Sound between Tacoma and the Kitsap Peninsula. It opened to traffic on July 1, 1940, and dramatically collapsed into Puget Sound on November 7, just four months after it opened.
Noting that we now live in an era of “confusion and ill-conceived stuff,” Ammunition design studio founder Robert Brunner, speaking at Gigaom Roadmap, said that by adding connectivity to everything and its mother, we aren't necessarily doing ourselves any favors, with many ‘things’ just fine in their unconnected state.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.