My favorite talent, if I may choose one!

Ideation as a programmer – 10 symptoms

1 . No monopoly on solutions

When picturing your code in terms of product and user stories, it doesn’t really matter how you solve people’s problems.

Too often programmers are married to the idea that all they do is code. We can solve problems otherwise!

Most of the time it ends up being code, but even then there are many, many possible solutions.

2. Idea review

Since there is no obvious way to implement virtually anything, we should discuss possible implementation.

3. Brainstorming

But it has to be done properly. No idea is stupid. But really, no. The usual reaction to a stupid idea is: “There are no stupid ideas but this one you could have held to yourself”.

Even if funny, a stupid idea can spark a different way of solving a problem.

4. “We always did it like that” 😡

People with Ideation tend to hate such explanations and so do I.

I’m on the opposite side of the spectrum. I recommend sometimes doing things in a different way just for the sake of it.

5. Kink on bizarre ideas

Test first? Write tests for something not yet existing? xD How stupid is that?

This idea must have sounded ridiculous the first time you encountered it. Yet it’s so smart after you learn it!

If anything, bizarre ideas are the ones that can change us the most.

6. Vehicle of thoughts

Black swan. Agile. Resistance.

These are concepts simple enough to spread and ponder, yet if you want to master them, you can read and write books about them.

Very often such vehicles of thought are titles of books: Black swan, Clean code, Starting Strength, Deskbound, Fight Club, Miracle Morning, Factfulness…

They can also come from famous blog posts (1000 true fans) or papers (Go To Statement Considered Harmful).

I love when I discover a simple term that carries a very deep meaning of something important to me. This explains why I love CliftonStrengths talents.

7. Disappointment in retros

The idea of retro is fantastic. We state our problems. We pick the most important one. We solve it. Repeat every iteration.

In practice, we usually fail at every stage.

8. Too quick with throwing ideas

When I throw an idea to improve something, I don’t mean to do it right now.

I do throw ideas left and right in good faith.

The following is hard to explain to people with low Ideation:

An idea is something different than its execution.

9. Great idea = first step?

It’s also common among people with Ideation. The sheer idea of how to do something feels like not only the first but also the biggest step in creation.

Figured out how to implement something? Great. Now what’s left is only to implement it.

While if you think about it, it’s just a pitfall. Ideas are cheap. Execution is all that matters.

10. Ideas are ongoing

Ideas are very much alive in Bartek. They grow and shrink, move, have sex.

TDD now is different than TDD 10 years ago.

Ideas also build on each other:

  • Tests are a nice tool
  • Test first is a cool, bizarre idea
  • TDD is a great technique
  • ATDD is exactly this but inserted into a process
  • A time will come when ATDD will be improved to something else


There are a few ways to make your ideas better:

  • one is to think really hard – that’s the least effective
  • second is to load a problem to your head, have a break and let your subconscious mind figure it out
  • third is to talk with other competent people about it

Ideation = true brainstorming session.

More Gallup

For the record, here are my top 5 CliftonStrengths themes.

  1. Responsibilityread more
  2. Individualizationread more
  3. Developerread more
  4. Ideation – this post
  5. Consistencyread more