Over the past hundred years, researchers have reached a surprising degree of consensus about the predictable stages of creative thinking.
1. Saturation: Once the problem or creative challenge has been defined, the next stage of creativity is a left hemisphere activity that paradoxically requires absorbing one’s self in what’s already known.
2. Incubation: The second stage of creativity begins when we walk away from a problem, typically because our left hemisphere can’t seem to solve it.
3. Illumination: Ah-ha moments — spontaneous, intuitive, unbidden — characterize the third stage of creativity. Where are you when you get your best ideas?.
4. Verification: In the final stage of creativity, the left hemisphere reasserts its dominance. This stage is about challenging and testing the creative breakthrough you’ve had.