There is an accepted five step Creative Process. I believe my source for
this definition is Betty Edwards, but I first learned it in college close to
forty years ago.
Stage 1. First Insight
A question, problem, or mystery flashes into the mind.
This may begin with a vague awareness that something is “missing” or doesn’t
“fit” with the whole picture.
“What if...., Why..., How can..., what’s wrong with this picture?”
First insight is thought to be a RIGHT HEMISPHERE process as it requires
“seeing” the whole picture and looking for missing pieces.
Stage 2. Saturation
The LEFT HEMISPHERE gathers information, sifts, sorts, and categorizes data.
When the details have been organized and analyzed, the left hemisphere
reaches the point of saturation, or overload and turns the problem over to
the its partner, the RIGHT HEMISPHERE.
Stage 3. Incubation
Because the RIGHT HEMISPHERE operates mostly outside our conscious level, we
may have little awareness that it is developing solutions to a problem. If
you have ever set aside a problem for “later” or decided to “sleep on it,”
you’ve probably had this experience. Your answer, or solution appears out of
nowhere. Your unconscious mind, or RIGHT BRAIN has been working on the
problem, fitting pieces of the puzzle together, outside of your awareness.
Stage 4. Illumination
Also known as the “light bulb,” “Aha,” or “Eureka!”
experience, this is the magic moment when the solution pops into your
consciousness. “I HAVE IT!” This is the moment of inspiration.
Stage 5. Verification
The solution is put into concrete form by the LEFT HEMISPHERE. It is tested,
evaluated, and modified if necessary.