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Understanding Graham Wallas’ four stages of creativity

When I am not sitting on my couch watching movies from my Raspberry Pi TV box, there is a good chance that I am in the midst of creating something new.

Whether it is coding a new functionality or writing a new blog post, I would inherently follow through four stages to bring about my creation. These four stages of creativity process became apparent to me through a lecture on how to manage creativity in an organisation.

According to Graham Wallas, the four stages of creativity :

  1. Preparation
  2. Incubation
  3. Illumination
  4. Verification

In this post, I document the Graham Wallas' four stages of creativity so that I can be more productive during the creation of new things.

The Preparation stage

The preparation stage is where we prepare our brain to begin the journey towards the creation a new thing. In order to prepare our brain for creation, we seek to gather as much information as we can. Methods of information gathering can be reading of literature, talking to people about aspects surrounding the potential creation, experimentation and etc. The goal of this stage is to learn as much as we can that will help us bring about the creation of that new thing.

The Incubation stage

After we had prepared our brain for creation, we go into the Incubation stage. In the Incubation stage, we stop all activities relating to the creation that we had initially set our mind to do. Since time is needed for us to proceed with Incubation, this stage is frustrating when there are tight deadlines to be met. We can get by this stage by sleeping, meditating or even going in the preparation stage to create something else. For creation with tight deadlines, mediating and sleeping are probably the best ways to complete the Incubation stage as our bodies will have the chance to recharge itself for the creation.

The Illumination stage

We will be out of the Incubation stage when we find the a-ha moment. This new stage is known as the Illumination stage where we find the insights and catalyst to proceed with our creation.

The Verification stage

The Illumination stage would have helped us built up our creation to the extend where it becomes visible. Once we can see and critic our creation, we will go into the verification stage where we perform actions to improve the creation. We can perform verification with ourselves and others. When we find a point where we are not able to improve the creation without going into the Preparation stage again, we reach a point where we can decide that our creation is complete.

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About Clivant

Clivant a.k.a Chai Heng enjoys composing software and building systems to serve people. He owns techcoil.com and hopes that whatever he had written and built so far had benefited people.

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