Many people who work in creative fields often prefer a chaotic or disorderly environment around them while they work on new ideas or projects. The painter Pablo Picasso once said, "An act of art begins as an act of destruction," which describes the phenomenon known as "creative chaos" quite well. This occurs when established patterns are destroyed, with the hope of something new arising from the positive chaos by the destruction. Creative people would consider this moment a breakthrough, as a new and unexpected result rises from the rubble of a former creative stumbling block.
According to an old saying, one cannot make an omelette without breaking some eggs. In the case of creative chaos, one cannot make an exciting new egg dish without burning up several pans and breaking dozens of eggs. People who thrive on such an environment are often most comfortable at the moment of discovery and beyond, not the weeks or months of experimentation that led up to it. This is why it is so common to find a creative person's office filled to the ceiling with clutter and effluvia. Concerns over order and sanitation are secondary to the excitement surrounding a new discovery.
The practice of creative chaos in the workplace has long been a source of controversy. Some employees whose jobs require significant creativity often find themselves at odds with supervisors who don't understand their need for disorder. An artist working alone in a studio or a writer working in an office may be able to work in chaos, but corporate employees working in advertising or graphic arts may not have that luxury. Maintaining a balance between order and disorder can be challenging for companies that need employees with creative backgrounds.
The term has also been applied to geopolitical situations, such as the war in Iraq. There is a political theory that suggests that a new and effective government system will arise only after the old regimes have been destroyed or neutralized. This application is often used as a justification for war, since the only proven way to obliterate an entire corrupt government is through military superiority. While the successfulness of this theory may still be unproven, it does point out both the positive and negative aspects of seeking new growth following destruction and chaos.