Creativity in Software Development

Workshop to develop creative skills

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by Xoana Terry


As designers and developers, creativity is at the center of our work. This is why we believe we should continuously develop our creative skills, both as individuals and as a team. This Creativity workshop is an example of discussions and activities that can be organized to foster creativity in a software company! It is all about coming together to debate, explore and find creative ways to work.

But first, what is creativity?

What comes to your mind when you think of creativity? It all started with this question. And it triggered a whole lot of discussions and ideas. The objective was to find a definition that we would all find acceptable, so that we could decide to engage in creative activities together!

Developing our creativity

After a little brainstorming we went on to work on how to apply creativity to coding, talking to people and finding new ways to work in an ongoing industry like ours.

We found a topic that we are all familiar with: software development! And used it as a playground to foster creative approaches.

We divided into 4 teams that had a common assignment, with slight variations: How would you explain what it is that we do at NaN? And each team had to find a creative way to explain this to an imaginary person of 10, 20, 60 or 80 years old depending on the team.

All kinds of material were available, from old and new magazines to VR glasses, giving each team the freedom to show, perform or present its work, creatively! After 15 minutes locked in a room, this is what the presentations looked like:

A focus on sketches: lots of arrows!

Sharing mate and a pie to foster creativity: priorities first.

Resorting to visual communication and real-life examples

The cherry on the cake: the team from Neuquén used the metaphor of a chef recipe to explain software development to a grandma.

The idea was to present a hands-on creative thinking opportunity, giving space to different communications styles. We had a good laugh, then went a little deeper into concrete actions for empowering creativity at work.

4 actions a developer can take to empower creativity at work

ASK QUESTIONS: Creativity has a lot to do with being able to ask yourself and others questions. How? How can I/we…? What else? What are the possibilities? What would happen if…? with who else?

  • DEEP LEARNING: Keep your apprentice mode on all the time. Practice, share what you’ve learnt, be eager to listen and open up to other disciplines. Explore beyond your comfort zone.

  • PICK AND MIX: Choose what to focus on, know what to a, select your ingredients, blend them, mix them, combine the uncombined. Look for analogies and choose to invest in what’s important for your aim: time, attention, courses and so on.

  • DO: Take risks, propose, put into practice, try and try again.

Now let’s put all of this into practice! If you have other ideas about how to become more creative to solve development challenges, we’d be happy to hear about them. The comments section is all yours!

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