Sunday, January 12, 2014

Creativity, Skill, and Software Developers

"Skill is how you close the gap," Twyla Tharp tells us, "between what you can see in your mind's eye and what you can produce."

She devoted a chapter of her 2003 book "The Creative Habit - Learn it and use it for life" to the topic of skills and creativity. Tharp draws on her enormously successful 35-year career as a dancer, choreographer, and businesswoman, and explains how we can learn to be more creative.

Tharp believes that we need to learn the fundamentals of our craft if we ever expect to succeed. Writers need to read. Painters need to know how to work in a wide range of artistic media.

Personality is a skill, Tharp tells us. Certainly the mastery of interpersonal relations is a skill that everybody can benefit from.

Perfection of skills requires practice. And work.

In the software development industry, we need more than technical skills. Most developers agree that the best-selling programs are seldom the programs that are the most technically advanced. We need communication skills, motivational skills, persuasion skills, business skills, marketing skills, and many others.

Tharp believes that skill and passion are both needed to be creative.

"The more you know," Tharp explains, "the better you can imagine."

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