If you combine a communication device with a notebook, what do you get? You get a smartphone. If you combine a car with a television, what do you get? You get an entertainment system in the car that plays movies, music and television on long drives. These inventions, and so many more, are the result of the creative process.
But the creative process probably isn’t what you think it is. For instance, creativity isn’t just some mystical gift that some people have and others don’t. In fact, everyone can be creative, and they need to be. In today’s changing world, creativity may be the most essential skill you have. So if you want to be successful in business and in your life, then you need to be able to think outside the box.
What is the Creative Process?
The creative process isn’t just some mystical, internal journey where you come out changed and with ideas that no one has ever considered before. It can be that. But more often, it’s about connecting two old ideas in a new way.
As Steve Jobs put it, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”
Connecting old ideas to make something new is a skill that you can learn. It won’t be easy. In fact, if you’ve let this part of your brain atrophy then you’ll probably find it hard going at first. But the more you exercise this part of your brain the better you will get at it and the easier it will become. And one of the best ways to get that exercise is by using the 5 step creative process.
The 5 Steps of the Creative Process
In 1939 James Webb Young, a self-made advertising executive, published a book called A Technique for Producing Ideas. In it, he detailed the essential steps for successful and productive creativity. This process was revolutionary because it relied on a plan rather than inspiration and connecting old ideas rather than coming up with something completely new. It also focused on connections made by the unconscious brain during periods of silent thought.
This is a creative process that anyone can use to train themselves to be more innovative and more creative in the way they think and work. And here are the 5 steps of this creative process: