An artist wakes up one morning and gets an idea to create a masterpiece. A copywriter walks on the riverside and a great campaign takes shape. A musician stumbles upon a homeless man and an excellent composition comes alive.

How often we hear this and wonder why ideas come this way only to others and not to us. But if you at this closely, you’ll discover that all of them had already been working on the idea. And what happened one morning, or by the riverside or on the road is actually the third step in the creative process.

To understand this, let’s look at the process of creativity and the five steps it involves.

Step 1: Preparation:
This is when the problem is first seen by the creative person and he starts preparing to find a solution to it. This is when all the knowledge you’ve gained in your chosen creative field comes into play. Everything that you’ve seen, heard, smelt and felt till date starts working together to help you find a solution. No wonder that creative people are always hungry for new knowledge and more information even on unrelated subjects. Because they know that they will never know when and from where a great idea will come by.

Step 2: Incubation:
This is when creative people try to understand the real problem. They get into the nitty gritties… into the minute details of the problem. And then, once they have all the information on the problem, they combine it with all the related and unrelated knowledge they’ve gathered and put it on the back burner and let it stew.

Step 3: Enlightenment:
This is also called insight. It’s the moment at which the unconscious and the subconscious minds, having finished working on the problem, present an “AHA!” or a “EUREKA!” This is the step where the artist, the copywriter and the musician mentioned earlier were on.

Step 4: Evaluation:
This step is where you evaluate the solution. Will it work, will it not? Is it the best? Is it worse? It’s not always the right answer, even though it may be amazingly creative. This is where you find a balance between imagination and reality and evaluate if the solution is practical.

Step 5: Implementation:
And finally, it’s time to implement the idea. The artist creates the masterpiece. The copywriter writes an award winning campaign and the musician creates a memorable score.

And after the idea is implemented, the five steps begin again… the preparation, the incubation, the enlightenment, the evaluation and the implementation… all working towards making the idea better than before. Again and again.

by Arun Verma on CreativeGarh YahooGroups