Most of the people think that creativity starts with the idea, but in reality, many creative ideas don’t pop into your head. If you want to come up with the original ideas, you may need to establish the circumstances for it to take place.
You can’t hope for any innovation to strike, you have to prepare as well as plan for creativity and think like a creative director.
Four stages of the creative thinking process
Stage one: Preparation
In the first stage of its process, you define the need, problem or desire and then collect the information regarding a problem or topic. Your primary goal is to gain as much knowledge as you can about the issue or topic.
After collecting the information, you sort, read, organize, evaluate and outline it. You do everything which can help you move towards finding the solution.
At this stage, you try to absorb as much information as possible to allow it to go into your subconscious.
Stage two: Incubation
This involves mentally processing the information which you collected in the first stage. The information will start churning in the back of mind. Your both conscious and subconscious minds work on the idea.
You start making new connections, cultivating new thoughts and separating unnecessary information. As you move through this stage, you might want to step back slowly from the problem or topic and let your mind work through the ideas or solution.
All the information which you collect slowly starts taking the subconscious effect. You stop consciously thinking about the issue which you are trying to solve. After the incubation period, creative ideas often take place unexpectedly. The stage of incubation can last for minutes, weeks or even the years.
Stage three: Illumination
This is considered as the stage where the idea which is incubating suddenly starts taking shape. This can be called as ‘light bulb,’ ‘Aha moment’ or ‘Eureka’ moment.
This takes place when you are thinking about the solution or creative idea. You are doing something else like taking a shower, exercising, resting or driving.
You might be having the emotional reaction of happiness, knowing you have got the solution or an idea for which you were searching. The plan starts to appear suddenly and comes with the feeling of certainty. This is when all of the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
Unlike any other stage, illumination is brief which involve the rush of insight in a shorter period.
Stage four: Verification
After coming with the creative idea, you might want to determine if it will work or not. Hence, in the final step of the creative thinking process, you want to test, evaluate and verify the idea that came to you from the stage of illumination.
You need to use your critical and analytical thinking skills to get your idea. If the solution or idea is not going to work, you might have to go through the creative process from the beginning.