Creativity: How we lost it, why that’s bad, and how we get it back

Friday, May 26

15:25 - 15:55
Audience levelIntermediate
Elevator pitch

Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value. It is not limited to the arts, it is innate to us and indeed vital to our professional lives.

And yet, many organizations do their very best to squelch, stifle, and suffocate creativity.

Here are some suggestions for fixing that.


There are two major misconceptions about creativity: that it is the exclusive domain of the arts, and that it happens in big leaps — like Mozart composing a grand symphony, or Zaha Hadid designing a major building.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value, and as such it is a requirement for innovation, optimization, and problem-solving. It is as important to engineering as it is to science and management.

And yet, most of us have had their creativity drummed out of us early in our lives, and we must go to great lengths to get it back — and most of us are dealing with a work environment that is ever increasingly creativity-hostile. This isn’t good for developers, it isn’t good for technical writers, and it isn’t good for managers, either.

In this talk, I try to explain where I think this might be coming from, make the point that we need to do something about it, and then give concrete examples on what we all can do — as individuals, but also as organizations — to be more creative.

TagsCommunication, Best Practice
participant photo

Florian Haas

I run the Education team at Cleura, and help people learn to use, understand, and deploy services like Ceph, OpenStack, and Kubernetes. I have worked exclusively with open source software since about 2002, and been involved in OpenStack and Ceph since early 2012, and in Open edX since mid-2015. I co-founded hastexo, a professional services company where I served as CEO and Principal Consultant until its acquisition by Cleura (then called City Network) in October 2017.

I like people, travel, food, bread, music, and stereo photography.