I am reading a really boring book. Well, ok, it isn’t boring because I find the subject matter intriguing but it is all about research and creativity. However, as I am reading, I am uncovering some axioms about creativity that has been discovered over the last few centuries. As I am reading, I am finding that I have the same experiences described in the book but I tend to get in my own way and not unleash my creativity in the proper way to maximize my effectiveness. I am going to commit to doing these 3 things to unleash my creativity.
Creativity Step #1 -Absorb the Problem
In order to creatively solve a problem (because when we boil it all down, we are solving problems with creative thinking), you have to absolutely immerse yourself in the problem. Know the issue, product, or problem extremely well and have exhausted all of the solutions you can come up with just on your own. In House, M.D., This is where all the medical theories are thrown around and they end up not working no matter what they try.
Creativity Step #2 -Walk Away
There is a theory in the study of creativity that is called incubation. The theory is that when you walk away from a problem after being completely obsessed with it, your brain continues working on the solution subconsciously. It is extremely important that you are submersed in the problem before hand because it gives your brain more information to work with. Even in HOUSE, Dr. House is distracted and forgets about his patients almost over half the episode. Also, his distance and not caring for the patient probably helps him “Walk Away”.
Creativity Step #3 – Epiphany or Bisociation
The next step can go many ways but usualy goes in 1 of 2 ways: Epiphany or Bisociation.
With an Epiphany, your brain suddenly realizes the solution to the problem and alerts you by smacking your frontal lobe and you have the “Aha!” moment (the non-nordic kind).
Bisociation is a term used to describe when an object or a trigger of some kind makes your realize that the solution to your problem lies with the trigger or object.
At least in part. This is the type of moment that Dr. House constantly had. He would be reminded of something or see an object and that would dovetail into a treatment for the patient.
Gutenberg invented the first printing press to mass produce documents (including the Gutenberg Bible). However, he didn’t come upon this invention easily. He was having a hard time figuring out how to set the type so that you could easily print page after page. After being consumed with the problem for months, he took a break and attended a wine festival. There he witnessed a wine press that used flat sheets of material to press against the grapes. Through bisociation, he determined that this was the way to set the type and begin printing. The rest is history.
Remember, creativity is not necessarily always an original idea. Many times it is a process and risk to find a solution to a problem. Have you ever experienced anything like this? If so, I would love to hear the details! After that, go out and create something.
Jarrod – Creative Dad