Professional creativity = a conscious way to step out of your consciousness. Henrik Emilsson

Being creative is hard when your consciousness is turned on.
Because your consciousness is an alert cognitive state in which you are aware of yourself in your situation. It is a filter, that not only filter out mostly of the incoming information, but also tries to only deal with information that is important in the aspect of fit into the society. I.e., the social life gets prio 1.

So in order to be successfully creative, you need to train on how to step out of your conscience and enter the world of creativity.

I have realized that composing music is one of my actions to enter this world. When I am in it, I am not conscious. Only creating stuff without reflecting upon myself or awareness of how this music would be accepted by others. This might happen afterwards, but not in the middle of a session. The session is purely an creative session.

There are other actions I do that put me in the same state, e.g., crossword puzzling and playing solitaire card games.
I have even realized that in order to have a successful music session, I play solitaire card games just to get in the proper mode! I.e., I have trained myself into step out of consciousness. And since it is my decision to do so, it is a conscious way to step out of my consciousness.

The same goes for testing. The best and most creative test sessions I have had, have been those where I haven’t reflecting upon myself and my situation. All focus is on processing information and finding out new things.
Not sure if I have found any good way of entering this mode though.
Playing solitaire card games at work is not really socially accepted, yet…
Perhaps compose music might be possible to do? People love those kind of creative skills. That might be accepted… 🙂

Martin Jansson April 14th, 2008

I wonder if there are other situations that could generate other kinds of bug findings. For instance, if we set outselves in a situation “If you do not find 10 critical bugs in 30 minutes the world will come to an end.”. This might set us in a mindset different from normal. Being creative is probably a very healthy state to find bugs. Still, you might look at different things when you are stressed, must go to the toilet or whatever situation you think up.

Henrik Emilsson April 14th, 2008

As I see it, none of the scenarios you describe requires being conscious (perhaps the “world is ending”-situation requires it, but it is perhaps to abstract for our consciousness mind to compare with previous experience).
So there are certainly several different states you can be in to have successful testing sessions.

On the other hand, if the stressful situation is connected to your consciousness (e.g., your job and your skill is questioned). Many people might consider this as a blocker and not much will happen. If you think about it, this have happened for us and would certainly be applicable to some former colleagues of us.

Rikard Edgren April 16th, 2008

I fully agree, my unconscious sessions are too few, and rather happens with music than work. The closest at work is when I test something totally new; then I get absorbed and the mind goes at full speed, but not in a reflective way.

Flow by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi is about the same thing.