What Caine’s Arcade has in common with programming

So, Caine’s Arcade is really old news (from 2012), but somehow I completely missed it back then. I case you did as well: It is a touching short film about a boy that dreams of running an arcade. The short film is here (click image to play):


If you want to see more, then watch part 2 (click image to play):


Caine’s story moved me, because he has such a beautiful imaginative mind. It also made me sad. Sad because I realized that I am living in a world of grown ups, that – like me – lost most of their imagination.

Programming fosters imagination

But luckily I have an escape for that: Programming. It allows me to escape to a world full of imagination. I can dream of creating a more efficient Javascript framework or a simpler PHP framework. I can program the game 2048 for use in text mode or a PHP Memcache bundle to make you web application lightning fast. Most people don’t care about this, but that does not matter, because recognition is not what drives me.

The “inventor” feeling

Just like with Caine, not being successful does not matter. That’s because there is a stronger force: The act of creating (and imagining) is a powerful and magical thing. This magic is what motivated me to program computers in the first place. It also is what still drives me to create (software) whenever I can. It is the “inventor” feeling that gets you hooked you when you are creating. And the open-source movement that promotes sharing and world-wide collaboration adds a great extra dimension to this.

I <3 programming!


The innovation paradox

bulb_onThink about your work and ask yourself this simple question: “What would I improve if their were no constraints?”. Next ask yourself the questions: “How sure am I that the constraints really exist? Did I try? Is there really no workaround?”.

“What would I improve if their were no constraints?”

The paradox

Businesses tend to steer for compliance, cost reduction and security to achieve financial stability. They also wonder why they fail to innovate. I learned that this is called the “innovation paradox” as organizations tend to pursuit two seemingly opposite goals. So if you are caught in that struggle, then I suggest that you read Jeffrey Phillips on his blog “innovate on purpose”.


These 10 quotes may inspire you on your search for innovation:

  1. “The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” – William Pollard
  2. “When all think alike, then no one is thinking.” – Walter Lippman
  3. “Managers maintain the present while leaders create the future.” – Orrin Woodward
  4. “The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.” – John Maynard Keynes
  5. “Dreaming is largely lost among adults drowning in self-imposed realities.” – Ryan Lilly
  6. “A key ingredient in innovation is the ability to challenge authority and break rules.” – Vivek Wadhwa
  7. “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there will be no hope for it.” – A. Einstein.
  8. “Innovators are inevitably controversial.” – Eva Le Gallienne
  9. “Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” – Theodore Levitt
  10. “No obstacle is so big that one person with determination can’t make a difference.” – Jay Samit

Parallel thinking

Even in a team of people that are creative and have the guts to innovate, there is one thing that can ruin everything: ego play. All creative ideas and innovation plans should be team owned and not be associated with a single team member. Tools like De Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” can help you to create a parallel mind that dreams up team owned ideas during a brainstorm session.