Recently, a colleague stated an eloquent view of genius:
An accomplishment is not truly ingenious if the person cannot explain it.I love this quote, vis-a-vis software:
- If one considers code as an explanation of what the computer is doing, then this quote has inherent disrespect for clever hacks and tricks.
- More generally, a good, thoughtful explanation is quite an accomplishment, and a gift: it requires articulation, respect, and an intuitive feel for the audience. Over my career, I have learned that a critical attribute of a work environment is: do I feel comfortable asking questions? This spans technology and domain knowledge.
- This quote says nothing about the creative spark or _how_ the person came up with the idea. That's a separate issue, and a tall order. I doubt that Mozart could tell anyone how he wrote; i.e. how his genius worked. But he could tell you why a particular piece of music works.