Many times I have heard the word "creativity" associated to environments where the final output is: a) A Design b) An advertisement c) A mockup d) ... fill it with anything that comes to your mind regarding your experience with this word.
In spite of the examples I put above, "Creativity" has nothing to do with them, it is a human core attribute that anyone can train and improve. It is true that some environments are better than others to develop the skill itself, but believe me, it lives in you too.
What is is
Being creative is highly related with solving problems in unique and efficient ways, and how luck you are!, as a developer you are constantly solving problems, so let's see whether or not you are being creative:
Whenever you refactor a piece of code and the result is cleaner, more efficient and readability has been improved, that is creativity.
Practical with minimum overhead
When you decide that the same feature can run flawless using an endpoint to an external service, instead of developing an in-house new-edge-super-meta-algorithm, that has been already developed and optimised by other third party, that is creativity.
Make decisiones with libraries
They way you achieve solutions using native features instead of using 2,000 libraries from NPM to reduce your web app from 5MB to 500KB, that is creativity.
Open to learn
Being open to learn other languages and techniques allow you to expand you knowledge limits, and because of that knowledge, you will be able to choose from possible solutions and discard others faster. That is creativity.
Look for inspiration
Creativity is fed by your own experience and knowledge, but can also be triggered from other sources, such as other colleagues/professionals who share their experiences. Being able to filter and pick external content to boost your inspiration is also creativity.
Do not fear a failure, every time something goes wrong it is automatically added to your experiences luggage, which will feed your potential to be more creative.
Out of the box
Being able to take a step aside and view the problem out of the box is also creativity. Multiple times you have been hitting a wall when trying to solve a problem, you leave it as it is for a while, and when you come back and think of it again, suddenly some magic appears and you solve it.
Optimising your tools and environment
Investigate, try and optimise your dev tools, such as your IDE, your browser extension and tab organisation, or buying your swiss army knife of dev tools, that is is also creativity.
Remember to not look in other direction when people around you talk about "creativity", everyone has something to say about it.
Images attribution Creativity and innovation photo created by freepik - www.freepik.com Think different photo created by Waewkidja - www.freepik.com Puzzle shape photo created by jcomp - www.freepik.com Book photo created by ikaika - www.freepik.com