Create, Share How You Did It, Create More

Joris Brauns

Joris Brauns, Microsoft MVP, talks creativity and why sharing knowledge is the key to getting things done and staying inspired

Where do innovative tech pros get their brilliant ideas? For Joris Brauns, a Windows Insider and Microsoft MVP hailing from Antwerp, Belgium, being in a community of innovators and exploring projects together often lead to a host of tantalizing ideas.

Where do innovative tech pros get their brilliant ideas? For Joris Brauns, a Windows Insider and Microsoft MVP hailing from Antwerp, Belgium, being in a community of innovators and exploring projects together often lead to a host of tantalizing ideas.

“Often, I’m building like five, six apps at the same time,” Joris says. “Exchanging ideas with colleagues and the process itself of creating gives me new ideas for more projects. You might say my problem is that I have way too much inspiration.”

One of his recent creations emerged while he was tinkering with Cortana and learning how to use the AI assistant’s voice-control. He developed an app that used Cortana to turn the lights on and off at his home. That evolved into a “mood lamp” device that enables users to wake up at a certain time through a light that intensifies gradually, mimicking the natural brightening of the sun.

A playful curiosity is behind much of Joris’s creative process. A few years ago, he developed a bike sharing app (Velo) for the Windows store and gave it to the city of Antwerp for free—partly for fun, partly because there was an app competition, and mostly because the solution simply didn’t exist yet.

“I just love to create things out of nothing,” Joris explains. “Making your own stuff, bringing something to life — that excites me.

These days, Joris is busy working with partners to launch a boutique software engineering firm and developing several side projects, including a “magic mirror” that displays the weather and your daily appointments while you brush your teeth, and using Windows 10 IoT Core to remotely monitor the temperature of his oven. Why the oven? Before Joris became a developer, he was formally trained as a baker.

Joris finds a parallel between delighting users with an app and serving up a delicious pastry —
“When you see people smile because you made something, that’s an amazing feeling. But it’s not just about building a product. The process of sharing how you made it with others is really cool.”

His enthusiasm for sharing knowledge is precisely how he earned his MVP award. In addition to posts on blogs and forms, he mentors young people and gives lectures to recent graduates who have an interest in coding.

Joris (standing at center) offering advice to developers, creators, and students at the Open Windows Insider Community in Antwerp
Image: Joris (standing at center) offering advice to developers, creators, and students at the Open Windows Insider Community in Antwerp.

“Giving lessons to people is a way to keep myself up-to-date with current technologies,” Joris explains. “I’m always challenging myself to do that. But what makes me most happy is when people ask questions about how I’ve done something, and I can inspire people to learn and try new things. Sometimes, three weeks after a lecture someone will approach me and say, ‘Because of what you told me, I’m working on this project.’ This kind of reaction gives me fresh energy.”

Joris emphasizes that none of his projects would have taken flight without the help of friends and mentors that share an enthusiasm for innovating. During tough times, likeminded colleagues have kept him going. He also credits the MVP and Windows Insider communities for their support. “All those positive-minded people helping one another are the real deal,” he says. “Working on great solutions from scratch and getting together to get things done are what I live for.”

What’s next for Joris and his incredible creative drive? He’s working with three co-founders on growing a small but mighty team for their startup. “I see us as a small team of geeks who have the same goal of building great software, who are experts together,” he says. “Hopefully, we’ll be travelling the world, implementing great solutions, and helping people out.”

Sounds perfect to us!

Connect with Joris via the Open Windows Insider Community in Antwerp, Belgium and on Twitter @jorisbrauns. Aspiring to become a Microsoft MVP? Learn more here.

SHAPE THE FUTURE OF WINDOWS — BECOME AN INSIDER

PREVIEW THE NEXT EVOLUTION OF WINDOWS