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Design for Software: A Playbook for Developers by Erik Klimczak

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Chapter 2: Inspiration

“I just don’t know where to start”

I HEAR IT all the time: “I’m just not creative . . . I don’t know where to start.” Starting a new project without a good idea or clear direction can be frustrating. I get it—a blank canvas is overwhelming, but you shouldn’t feel like you have to start from scratch. Merely “shooting in the dark” is unreliable and usually produces mediocre results. Taking a step back to get inspired will help eliminate second-guessing so you can tread confidently with a clear design direction.

With the industry becoming evermore competitive, the excuse of not being creative is simply no longer acceptable. Luckily, I think that anybody can produce creative results by employing a handful of creative tools and activities.

For years, it’s been believed that creativity and invention are reserved for “creative” people, and that coming up with new and interesting ideas happens only when a bunch of designers get together. Although these types of meetings usually do yield a fair amount of good ideas, it’s not because of the people in the room as much it is about the strategies and tactics that are used.

I believe there are two types of creativity:

Natural talent that people are born with (and not everyone is born with it)

Applied creativity

Usually, the two go hand in hand, and the best creative folks tend to be those who are naturally gifted but who augment their talent with a healthy applied creativity regimen. That doesn’t mean, however, that ...

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