Creativity and Testing

In a recent blog post, Tim Van Tongeren referenced a Fast Company article on creativity.

When reading the article there was a list of skills for creativity that stuck out:

"Creativity depends on a number of things: experience, including knowledge and technical skills; talent; and ability to think in new ways; and the capacity to push through uncreative dry spells. Intrinsic motivation (...) is especially critical."

As I read this I thought, "Wow, this sounds like a great list of skills for an exploratory tester." Past experience, knowledge and technical skills all seem to be common sense. The ability to think in new ways seems like a must have. And one often needs good motivation to find good bugs.

The item that seems interesting to me is "the capacity to push through uncreative dry spells."

This led me to think, "Do I have uncreative dry spells where I can't think of any new tests?" Of course, I answered yes, I have them more often than I like - but I'm still working on the whole experience thing....

I then asked myself how I work through them. I typically find that I can start to generate some good ideas by doing the following:

  • Read blogs, articles, and lists to see what others are doing
  • Go find some random piece of software to test and see if that sparks any insights into the application I'm suppose to be testing
  • Pair testing

I was wondering if anyone else had any interesting ways of overcoming uncreative dry spells. Please share.