BY DAVID GUTIERREZ
Creative thinking is commonly associated with the students in the arts or with high performing students. However, using techniques that promote creative and critical thinking such as reason, imagination and innovation can significantly improve students’ achievement in any learning area and even in their lives beyond college. We have gathered advice and examples from the most innovative companies and leading experts about very specific steps you can follow when it comes to improving the level of thinking.
Raphael Diluzio, a serial creative artist, entrepreneur, and a professor has demystified the creative process and shared the 7 steps of creative thinking (not necessarily in this particular order).
- Ask a question
The first stage of the creative process is just forming a question, an idea or a problem. If you don’t have a flash of an idea, then you can begin from this stage and try to come up with a question or a difficult situation you want to overcome in studying. As students, you have to go through every day being given challenges. That’s why take these problems and form a question around them.
2. Start research
After you frame a question, you engage in the process of research. According to Raphael DiLuzio, research can manifest itself in many different ways. For example, if you are an artist, you can make a sketch, if you are a chef, you can taste and smell things. But what you do is experience the world and gather information around the question you have formed.
- Basta stage
Raphael calls the third stage in Italian manner as a basta stage, when you can research for a long time, see the general picture or get down in the weeds and lost in the particulars. Therefore you have to know when to say enough. As students, very often you don’t have this choice because of deadlines, and that’s when comes the next stage. That’s the path Fred Smith took with his idea of FedEx. The whole concept of FedEx was first created, while writing an undergraduate paper. Rumors are, that Fred Smith actually got a C for that paper. Anyway, after college he left his idea and went to Marine Corps for some time. Only after that, he came back to FedEx and started working on it.
At this stage, there are three activities that can occur as a part of a creative process. When you hold a question you enter into a state of detachment, which means that you should hold on to this question and keep it in the back of your mind and distract yourself by some unrelated activities, such as sport, shopping or think of other things.
- Eureka moment
This moment means that you not only have this brilliant idea but also an answer to it. One of the prominent examples of innovative approach was demonstrated by the Swiss company Lonite that spotted the market opportunity of turning human cremation ashes into memorial diamonds and exploited it through creative and innovative thinking. Lonite’s example demonstrates that the eureka moment can be a turning point for many innovative companies that once have invented solution ideas to solve existing problems. According to Lonite, in order to achieve this stage, you have to think about your idea in a different way. For example, to commemorate someone, people commonly think of traditional burial. However, by associating the deceased beloved ones with a diamond, a well-known symbol of hope and eternal love, the company could successfully bring this idea to life and communicate it.
Then comes a sixths stage when a lot of people fail. When we are challenged with having a good idea, actually giving it a birth is very difficult for us because we are afraid of failure. Remember that you have to operate without fear and accept the possible failure. If you are not aware of the process of how to implement your idea, you have to gather people around you or describe your idea as detailed as possible. It is important to remember that you should share your ideas in order to actually implement it.
The last and most important stage is a stage of testing and criticism. When you bring your idea into the world, you have to share it and ask people whether they like it or not. Maybe you have made something wonderful, or there is still something to improve.
It is important to understand that the stages of innovative thinking do not come in this particular order. However, you should be able to identify each stage and implement them during your studies.
Remember that we are all living in an operational world that draws us away from our true inventive natures. Innovation is a very primal aspect of our being, that’s why step away from your day-to-day activities through thinking of things differently. Always value your ideas and do not be afraid of bringing them to life and sharing them.
David Gutierrez has worked in the field of web design since 2005. Right now he started learning Java in order to get second occupation. His professional interests defined major topics of his articles. David writes about new web design software, recently discovered professional tricks and also monitors the latest updates of the web development.