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Is a creative solution a good one?

A blank white canvas beside many brushes

“Creative” – the word is universally considered a virtue or compliment.

“You were so creative.”   “What a creative concept!”

“Use your creativity and come up with something.”

Many products and services have tried to displace Craigslist and Evite over the years. Few have succeeded and certainly not for a lack of creativity. Apple is creative, but you pay extra for that luxury. Creativity is lauded and encouraged, but there are some hidden downsides to it.

How does creativity work in an IT role or solution?

Suppose there’s a limitation in a piece of software. You might develop a creative workaround.But what about a creative workaround to a bug? Is that always good?


  • solves the immediate pain

  • avoids having to jettison the incumbent solution

  • can be fun and challenging to author and implement

  • usually are low cost, or perceived to be low

  • avoids external reliance (e.g. waiting for vendor to fix a bug)

  • fulfills a “puzzle” itch/scratch that many IT people enjoy


  • if it requires creativity, it’s typically not intuitive

  • adds complexity (in most cases)

  • requires explanation

  • requires documentation

  • often invalidates current setup and requires “ignoring” some current rules

  • might void warranty or support options

  • may add hidden costs – someone who knows the plug-in, or hack, or scripting. Labor is not free.

Creativity can be a very broad. You could do away with training by making your design SO good that people don’t need to be trained. Creativity that removes work is great. Next time you hear something is a “creative” solution, make sure there aren’t hidden costs.

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