Sometimes tech gets a bad rap as an industry that lacks creativity. I would like to set the record straight. Tech and creativity are intrinsically linked. Think of it as problem solving in its most basic form. To build tech you have to be very creative. You must see things other people do not see. Design and aesthetics get all the attention, but there is a bigger more interesting story behind the scenes. Coders are creative. As a coder, I can attest to this.
Creativity in its most basic form is important in every industry. It is especially important for startups. Sometimes it takes some practice. As mentors and leaders, we need to push startups and show them how to think differently and boldly. The way startups approach creative problem solving will define their success or failure.
No one would disagree that the act of writing poetry is, in fact, a creative act. In my world, coding is similar to writing poetry. And, as with poetry, it can be written badly or beautifully. Coding can be beautiful even if you don’t understand code itself. But if someone does write beautiful code, it will be beautiful to the most untrained person, the structure of the code, the naming of functions, the closing of tags, all nicely and symmetrically aligned and written. Coding written in this manner is easy to read and understand — it really is like poetry.
The best way to encourage this kind of poetry and creative problem solving is to remove barriers for startups, coders, founders – anyone, really. And, more importantly, remove fear of the F-word –failure. The fear of failure is the number one reason ideas flop or are never brought to market. It’s why code fails and business fail. Sometimes there is a direct correlation between the socio-economics of a founder’s background and the fear of failure. Unlike Silicon Valley, most countries are slow to embrace failure. It’s a cultural thing.
One of the most important characteristics of creative thinking and problem solving is a basic one — insatiable curiosity. One of the things that has helped me succeed as the founder of several startups is curiosity. I am curious about everything – architecture, science, the planet, space, travel, and why is there an ice cream shop at a weird location in Quebec. The key is to keep feeding that curiosity. Each time you learn something new or explore a new place or meet new people is an opportunity to see new things and get new ideas. The more you see, the more you understand, the more opportunities you create for yourself.
Using these kinds of insights in your own creative process is what really can make a difference in your life, your company and your ability to be an awesome human being.
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