The Wallas Model for the Process of Creativity

Notes: Graham Wallas in his book the Art of Thought details what is one of the first models of the creative process. In his model creativity may be explained with the following 5 stages (or 4 depending on which literature you agree with):

1) preparation (preparatory work on a problem that focuses the individual’s mind on the problem and explores the problem’s dimensions),

2) incubation (where the problem is internalized into the unconscious mind and nothing appears externally to be happening),

3) intimation (the creative person gets a ‘feeling’ that a solution is on its way),

4) illumination or insight (where the creative idea bursts forth from its preconscious processing into conscious awareness); and

5) verification (where the idea is consciously verified, elaborated, and then applied).

The implied theory behind Wallas’ model — that creative thinking is a subconscious process that cannot be directed, and that creative and analytical thinking are complementary — is reflected to varying degrees in other models of creativity.

The ‘spark’ is always surrounded by heavy bouts of dry analytical work and though it seems next to impossible to convince those whose lively hood includes applying for IP, it’s all in the latter. An idea has little value unless released to the world and executed upon.

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