Anyone can learn to be creative by using these five steps. That ‘s not to say being creative is easy. Uncovering your creative genius requires courage and tons of rehearse. however, this five-step approach should help demystify the creative march and illuminate the way to more advanced intend .
To explain how this march works, let me tell you a shortstop fib.
A Problem in Need of a Creative Solution
In the 1870s, newspapers and printers faced a very specific and very dearly-won problem. Photography was a new and agitate culture medium at the time. Readers wanted to see more pictures, but cipher could figure out how to print images cursorily and cheaply.
For case, if a newspaper wanted to print an image in the 1870s, they had to commission an engraver to etch a transcript of the photograph onto a steel plate by hand. These plates were used to press the image onto the page, but they often broke after merely a few uses. This march of halftone, you can imagine, was unusually time consuming and expensive .
The valet who invented a solution to this problem was named Frederic Eugene Ives. He went on to become a pioneer in the battlefield of photography and held over 70 patents by the end of his career. His report of creativity and invention, which I will share now, is a useful case study for understanding the 5 key steps of the creative serve .
A Flash of Insight
Ives got his start as a printer ’ sulfur apprentice in Ithaca, New York. After two years of learning the ins and outs of the print process, he began managing the photographic lab at nearby Cornell University. He spent the rest of the ten experimenting with new photography techniques and learning about cameras, printers, and optics .
In 1881, Ives had a flash of insight regarding a better printing technique .
“ While operating my photostereotype action in Ithaca, I studied the problem of halftone summons, ” Ives said. “ I went to bed one night in a country of mind fog over the problem, and the blink of an eye I woke in the good morning saw before me, apparently projected on the ceiling, the completely worked out procedure and equipment in operation. ” 1
Ives promptly translated his vision into reality and patented his print approach in 1881. He spent the remainder of the decade improving upon it. By 1885, he had developed a simplified process that delivered even better results. The Ives Process, as it came to be known, reduced the price of printing images by 15x and remained the standard printing technique for the adjacent 80 years .
Alright, nowadays let ‘s discuss what lessons we can learn from Ives about the creative process .
The 5 Stages of the Creative Process
In 1940, an ad administrator named James Webb Young published a short template titled, A technique for Producing Ideas. In this guide, he made a childlike, but profound statement about generating creative ideas .
According to Young, advanced ideas happen when you develop new combinations of previous elements. In other words, creative think is not about generating something new from a blank slate, but rather about taking what is already present and combining those bits and pieces in a way that has not been done previously .
Most significant, the ability to generate newfangled combinations hinges upon your ability to see the relationships between concepts. If you can form a newfangled link between two old ideas, you have done something creative.
Young believed this work of creative connection always occurred in five steps .
- Gather new material. At first, you learn. During this stage you focus on 1) learning specific material directly related to your task and 2) learning general material by becoming fascinated with a wide range of concepts.
- Thoroughly work over the materials in your mind. During this stage, you examine what you have learned by looking at the facts from different angles and experimenting with fitting various ideas together.
- Step away from the problem. Next, you put the problem completely out of your mind and go do something else that excites you and energizes you.
- Let your idea return to you. At some point, but only after you have stopped thinking about it, your idea will come back to you with a flash of insight and renewed energy.
- Shape and develop your idea based on feedback. For any idea to succeed, you must release it out into the world, submit it to criticism, and adapt it as needed.
The Idea in Practice
The creative summons used by Frederic Eugene Ives offers a perfect model of these five steps in action .
first, Ives gain raw fabric. He spent two years working as a printer ‘s apprentice and then four years running the photographic testing ground at Cornell University. These experiences gave him a fortune of material to draw upon and make associations between photography and impression .
second, Ives began to mentally work over everything he learned. By 1878, Ives was spending about all of his clock experimenting with new techniques. He was constantly tinkering and experimenting with different ways of putting ideas together .
Third, Ives stepped away from the problem. In this case, he went to sleep for a few hours before his brassy of insight. Letting creative challenges sit for longer periods of fourth dimension can work ampere well. Regardless of how hanker you step away, you need to do something that interests you and takes your heed off of the problem .
fourth, his theme returned to him. Ives wake up with the solution to his problem laid out before him. ( On a personal note, I frequently find creative ideas hit me merely as I am lying down for sleep. once I give my mind permission to stop working for the day, the solution appears easily. )
last, Ives continued to revise his estimate for years. In fact, he improved then many aspects of the process he filed a second patent. This is a critical point and is much overlooked. It can be easy to fall in love with the initial version of your idea, but great ideas constantly evolve .
The Creative Process in Short
“ An idea is a feat of association, and the altitude of it is a good metaphor. ”
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The creative action is the act of making new connections between old ideas. therefore, we can say creative remember is the undertaking of recognizing relationships between concepts .
One room to approach creative challenges is by following the five-step process of 1 ) gathering material, 2 ) intensely working over the material in your judgment, 3 ) stepping away from the trouble, 4 ) allowing the idea to come back to you naturally, and 5 ) testing your theme in the substantial worldly concern and adjusting it based on feedback .
Being creative is n’t about being the first ( or merely ) person to think of an theme. More often, creativity is about connecting ideas .