Coming off the heals of another successful Code Writers Workshop, I thought I'd throw out some more inspiration for developers. Oftentimes, we are so consumed by their everyday lives – the coding, the scripts, the testing – that we forget about our roles in driving innovation for future generations. Here are a few tips and tricks for getting the inspiration you need to innovate and excite.
#1 – Forget Preconceptions
Have you ever heard a new song on the radio that seemed to catch your attention? Although it may sound cliché, have you ever seen a sunset so beautiful that you felt you had no choice but to stop in your tracks and admire it? Any time your senses experience something new, your awareness of that sense heightens dramatically. As such, one of the best ways to inspire yourself to drive innovation involves forgetting what you think you know, and opening yourself up to new possibilities. To put it simply, if you’re afraid to innovate or try something new because it might not work, your creative side will suffer.
#2 – Plan for Creative Sessions
Another way to help inspire yourself involves scheduling time during the week to help fuel your creativity. As a developer, there are plenty of ways to express yourself in your work, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find them if you don’t take the time to let those creative juices flow. Step away from the repetitiveness of coding for a while and instead start brainstorming about some ideas you’ve had in the past. Head to a park that you’ve never been to, go for a drive in the countryside, or even go sit under a tree in the backyard and take it all in. You’ll be surprised at what can happen when you take time to sit back and reflect.
#3 – Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut
Think about the last time something unexpected happened to you, whether it was good, bad, or just plain interesting. It took you away from your everyday routine, at least for a while, and gave you something new to think about, all while helping you step outside of the box of preconceived notions you’ve unknowingly created for yourself. Every single day, do something new that provides you with that same feeling of freshness, whether that means visiting a museum exhibit, planting a tree, or stopping on your route home to try Szechuan food for the first time. You might be surprised at how these seemingly small experiences can help you avoid getting stuck in a cycle of repetition.
#4 – Stop Solving Problems for a While
The main job of any developer is to solve problems. This is true whether your job involves developing entire suites of software from scratch or working the bugs out of a video game before it goes live. When it feels like you are spending all of your time solving problems, it often translates to a complete lack of creativity. Take some time each day to step away from all of the problems you are trying to solve, and instead focus on something that makes you happy. You might just find that getting away from it all for a while is the key to creative success and driving innovation.
Although developers are often creative in their own right, driving innovation is often difficult. After all, much of your job is about using existing technologies to solve existing problems. Sometimes, stepping outside of the development box is all it takes to get that one great idea that could lead to that coding breakthrough.
How do you break the monotany? What are some of your favorite escapes that open up the new ideas? Would love to hear your methods for staying on the creative Edge.