Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre, recently published an interesting report. The purpose was to maximise the benefit of European software research funding from the €80 billion Horizon 2020 programme, and it provided incredible insight into the software industry’s status. It proved particularly useful, as it shed light on the crisis of creativity in software. This subject has garnered plenty of attention lately, with Tech Central, Ireland’s premier technology resource, sharing the report’s findings on the ‘Software Crisis 2.0’.
In response, John Savage – Founder and Technical Director of ActionPoint, shares his thoughts on the need for creativity in custom software development.
The findings of the Lero report on the Creative ‘Software Crisis 2.0’, which implies that building software systems requires more than just engineering talent is highly relevant. Software systems only deliver real value when they help an end-user. As such, approaching software solely from the perspective of technology can risk leaving that end-user out of the equation.
Engineers build “cool stuff” but more disciplines are required to ensure the human factors are fully considered. As software systems continuously grow in complexity, it’s important to have creatives at hand to focus the project on what’s important – meeting the client’s needs. For large public facing systems especially, skills beyond raw engineering talent are critical. First and foremost, finished code has to be user-friendly.
To quote the report, “Design lies at the heart of the software innovator of the future. The emphasis on design may require new skill sets for the software innovation team—which may include graphic designers, user experience engineers, cultural anthropologists, and behavioural psychologists. Designing engaging solutions requires creative talent; creativity is also critical in ideation.”
At ActionPointwe always start a project by exploring the entire ecosystem it will operate in. We may provide software development services, but the main purpose isn’t to create a piece of code. It’s to solve problems and to help companies grow their potential. In fact, engineering is often not discussed in the first meeting! Instead our intense focus throughout the project is on the users, and how best a new software system can support them.
Ultimately, it’s by providing more creative, holistic and comprehensive software development services that the software sector can thrive. As such, it’s vital that companies and individual developers alike recognise the interdisciplinary nature of software. By doing so, we can put the ‘Software Crisis 2.0’ firmly behind us.
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