The importance of creativity in technical roles

A piano and standard laptop keyboard have just about the same number of keys, 88.

As a classically trained pianist and product owner, Abby Edwards has moved from one keyboard to the other. But in this transition, she’s never lost sight that both are creative instruments that can inspire and bring joy to people’s lives. Learn why you should embrace your artistic side, no matter how technical your role is.

Don't lose your artistic spark in a technical world

Staying creative will bring satisfaction to your work and help you build products that resonate on a deep, human level

Most people consider music to be an art, not a science. The creativity that musicians produce, either spontaneously in improvisational performance or meticulously through composition and recording, is seen as fundamentally different than the output of architects, chemists or software engineers.

As a person with feet in both the “creative” and “technical” worlds, I can say for a fact that they are really the same world. It is important to bring creativity to technical roles, for your own self-fulfillment and to create better, more human products for the world to enjoy. So, here are ways to make sure you don’t lose your artistic spark in an increasingly digital world.

Abby Edwards, Surge senior business analyst, sitting at a piano playing a recital

Abby putting all her practice choices to work at her senior college recital

It’s all about the audience

I majored in piano performance in college. In the hours [of practice] behind a sound-proof door, the audience was always top of mind. What would they think? Could I captivate them, draw them in, leave them wanting more? Or, if they got bored or distracted, how could I win them back?

In my current role as a product owner, I am again focused on the audience. How will the choices we make for this product – functionality, features, interface, integrations, accessibility – affect the user?

In both cases, knowing your audience, its expectations, desires and needs, and then fulfilling them in a personal way is the key to success. If you design a digital product to be perfect from a technical standpoint, but without consideration for how people work, no one will use it.

Be future-thinking throughout the technical process. Use your creativity to ask the questions no one else thinks to ask in order to craft solutions that assist others. Make their lives richer and more delightful both today and in the months and years to come.


Play the role of conductor

There are various technical roles that work like a conductor. They must take inputs from stakeholders, product owners, marketing teams and users to create a cohesive vision for the product. This vision must be easy to understand yet hard to misinterpret. It must be composed so that other team members can work on it independently, but in such a way that all the pieces fit seamlessly once compiled. And a technical conductor, like their musical counterpart, is ultimately responsible for the audience’s reaction. Done correctly, they’ve orchestrated the creativity of everyone involved to meet, and hopefully exceed, the needs and expectations of the user audience.

Both [a piano and computer keyboard] are creative instruments that can inspire and bring joy to people’s lives. Embrace your artistic side, no matter how technical your role is. Doing so will bring satisfaction to your work and help you create products that resonate on a deep, human level.

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