In 1926, psychologist Graham Wallas outlined the basic creative process in four general stages:
1. Preparation: loading up your mind to be creative
2. Inspiration/insight: the process of generating ideas
3. Incubation: the process of refining and iterating ideas
4. Verification: the process of validating ideas
Inspiration/insight is the stage at which new ideas are created. Ideas, however, rarely occur in a vacuum—even with extensive preparation. As in the formation of crystals, ideas must be anchored to something to flourish.
Let’s look at four idea generating techniques that can spark fresh concepts and make your creativity flourish:
1. Lateral thinking
Lateral thinking is making a mental leap to a related concept, action or goal.
To spur this technique, look at objects or objectives with similar patterns of activity or growth. Is there anything that resembles what you’re trying to accomplish? What’s conceptually close to your goal?