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Creativity is the residue of the time wasted

Can we schedule creativity? Inspired by an article by ooomf, this inspiration discusses the importance of time and incubation before we first feel the glorious ideas are on the way. Albert Einstein, Graham Wallas and Sally Hogshead second this.

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Design thinking encourages participants to generate a great quantity of ideas instead of giving a damn about the quality of them. Then we marvel at a sea of post-it notes from a brainstorming and slap our faces. - “These are not great ideas!”

So how do we actually cross the “Death Valley” between inspirations andideations?

“The incubation is key for a better idea”, which means it takes time. While more time spent is debatable in a “make fast,fail fast” validation culture, a deliberately short time spent on cooking the insights will lead you nowhere. Half-ripe ideas are going to be the reason that your solution sinks in a red ocean of concepts.

Who are the champions for idea incubation?

In his profound masterpiece, Art of Thought, Graham Wallas, the co-founder of London School of Economics explained that a creative process consists of five stages: preparation, incubation, illumination and verification. He defines incubation as a stage where the problem you are trying to solve enters your unconscious mind and nothing appears to be happening externally. This is exactly where Albert Einstein created many ground breaking thoughts, an effect of the “combinatory play”.

How long before the next stage?

Good ideas don’t come easily. It takes more time than you expected. Sally Hogshead, in “The 5 Stages of Your Creative Process”, believes that creativity is something frustrating. She suggests that we need to go through five rigorous emotional stages – possibility, doubt, agony, epiphany and finesse.

Creative ideas are somehow, the residue of time wasted.


Inspired by

Graham Wallace – Art of Thought

Albert Einstein – Combinatory Play

Ooomf – The myth of the brainstorming session

Sally Hogshead – The 5 Stages of YourCreative Process

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