I’m Developer, I’m not Creative?

I have always thought that since I’m ex-developer, I’m not creative. Developers only need to follow programming logic and mathematics rules to develop from business requirements. Then I found myself from Katja Tschimmel’s course on Design Thinking at Laurea and very quickly realized that I need to be very creative for next two days.

We started Design Thinking course with different exercises for being creative and some instructions how to be even more creative. We got some advice and ideas how to move ahead when you have total block.


Then Katja Tschimmel started to tell us about different kind of models of the design thinking process. Great, this would be easy after all, all developers love processes.

There are several process models in design thinking, for example IDEO’s 3 I Model (Inspiration, Ideation, Implementation), IDEO’s HCD Model (Hearing, Creating and Delivering), The 4 D or Double Diamond Model of the British Council (Discover, Define, Develop, Deliver).

One of the design thinking model was Mindshake’s Innovation & Design Thinking Model Evolution 6² developed by Katja Tschimmel. This model offers a large toolkit for design thinking process. During our 2 days course we were divided to groups and we had an opportunity to practice few different tools from Evolution 62 toolkit.


Design Thinking vs. Development Process

After our two days course I read more about design thinking and processed everything new in my head. What is design thinking, how or where to use these different processes and models? How design thinking relates to my work? Then one night when I was trying to get to sleep, I suddenly realized that actually double diamond process is exactly same process as developers and business analysts are using in every day work.

For example The 4 D Model or ‘Double Diamond’ design process model, developed by the Design Council has 4 phases.

Being a developer you start with finding a root cause, the problem. You start with investigating what is the problem, where that problem exists, what user means about the problem. Is the problem a value in database or is it something that user has done. Sometimes it is not a problem, it can also be something that needs to be improved, possibility.

After you have done investigations we define the root cause of the problem or the part that needs to be improved. You pick the most critical problem to fix.

Being a good developer you cannot just choose one, the first solution, you need to investigate and found all possible solutions to solve the problem. This process is iterative part, trial and error.

Then you pick one solution from all possible solutions that you believe is the best and then you deliver it.


‘Double Diamond’ design process model, developed by the Design Council (http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/designprocess, 03/05/2012).


I read once that developers are creative and I started to laugh. But during design thinking course I learned that maybe it is true, developers actually are creative. Design process is exactly same as development process.

– Ex-developer, current business analyst, future service designer


* E.62 MindShake toolkit

* Tschimmel, Katja 2012. Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation. In: Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference: Action for Innovation: Innovating from Experience.Barcelona.

* Design Council. The Design Process: What is the Double Diamond? http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/news-opinion/design-process-what-double-diamond

3 thoughts on “I’m Developer, I’m not Creative?

  1. It is interesting how different professions think about creativity. I have always thought that developers are creative, because they have to creatively make the right choices in the given context while coding. Then on the other hand I myself don’t think that I am very creative as a journalist, because I only deliver facts. Many others think of journalists as very creative, because they write.

    I think many of us will learn a lot about creativity during our studies in service design. Think what we can do a year from now!

    • Thank you for really interesting comment! Really great to hear that.

      It really shows that we will and already have learned a lot during our studies both from ourselves but also each others!

  2. I am also from the development background. What is important is to ask a question to ourselves, how can I bring value to our customers ? Even by doing the daily code development and software delivery, we as developer can bring value to our customers.This blog also reminds me about Agile methodology, the most popular and widely used software development methodology based on iterative development. I would say that the 4 D Model or ‘Double Diamond’ design process model is a part of Agile methodology in which we deliver the product features to customer in an iterative way.

    I agree with Noora that the definition of creativity varies from profession to profession but the ultimate goal behind being creative is to bring value in services that we offer to our customers.

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