Over the years many models for the stages of creativity have been suggested by various subject matter experts.
Prior to the creative stages there is usually a process of exploration where you would identify a problem that needs solving or something that you or your organization wants replacing. It's about deciding what exactly you want to happen. Occasionally 'exploring' is included as the first stage of the creative process.
In general, the stages help provide structure and clarity on the mental and physical states of the individual.
(Photo Credit krazydad / jbum)
Most of the models tend to include at a minimum the following key stages:
Incubation is the stage where you have had time to absorb all of the information and facts about a problem and you are now letting your subconscious mind do the work of finding creative ideas and solutions.
The subconscious mind is the creative powerhouse. It can combine ideas by relating them with all of the other information that you have received over your lifetime in order to come up with novel, interesting solutions to problem areas.
The subconscious mind works best when you are not thinking about anything in particular. This is why people often say that their great ideas come to them while having a bath, or taking the dog for a walk, or just sat gazing out of the window, etc.
There are a number of tools and creative techniques that can assist with this stage. Such tools can assist individuals in being more creative, enabling them to break away from more traditional lines of thinking.
Illumination is the “Aha!” moment when all of a sudden the answer you have been seeking comes to you. This is a great stage in the creativity process where you will often feel elated due to coming up with a great new idea.
Translation is the final stage of the process where an idea is transformed into an action plan that ultimately results in something of use or value to someone. Great ideas have little value unless they are implemented.
Below is an excellent video which demonstrates some of the stages that we go through when getting creative ideas. The video is titled "Where good ideas come from?"...
Life itself can be approached as a creative challenge, through the medium of whatever we do on a daily basis, whether it be painting a picture or cooking a meal. In THE WIDENING STREAM, author David Ulrich gracefully illustrates the series of stages encountered on every creative journey, regardless of the form of expression. Using the stream as a metaphor, Ulrich takes readers from the moment of inspiration to completion, helping us navigate the joys and frustrations inherent in the process.
Innovation is the tangible implementation of creativity. To learn more about this from a business perspective see the Innovation Management Process.