The creative process can be broken down and explained like any other process – from how to produce a slide presentation to fabricating steel thing-a-mummies*. Once you understand the process, you can use it to produce results.
The process starts with a question, problem or challenge. Sometimes it’s a project with a business purpose like an e book or white paper. Other times, it’s in response to a need, either in the market or inside the company, like a non-boring informational video or an instructional course.
The investigation phase is about research and gathering information. During this phase, you collect background material, begin to form project goals, make notes and sketches and other ways of recording ideas. Classic brainstorming is often used to illustrate this phase, but that’s only one small part of the process and is insufficient as preparation
This is the black box of creativity. You’re not actively searching for a solution, just mulling everything over. The basic ideas and information are there but they need time to form and mature. Because this phase involves both the conscious and subconscious minds, you may not be fully aware of the process. This is the part of the creative process that is most easily disrupted with distractions, hustle and hurry.
The classic Aha! moment. An idea has matured to the point of being consciously grasped and often springs up as a surprise epiphany. These ideas frequently come at times when your mind is diverted but not wholly absorbed – driving, in the shower, housekeeping, cutting the grass and similar activities. The biggest challenge is capturing the idea immediately before it dissolves, so write it down!
The shiny new idea is examined and construction begins. Evaluation is also part of this stage in that you begin to consider the idea for feasibility and it’s often adapted and changed. Then, work begins with writing, drawing, filming, etc.
Caution: Don’t kill good ideas before their time by prematurely examining them. It takes several perfectly good ideas to arrive at one that will be taken to fruition.
Many times you’ll try multiple avenues and even different ideas before you find the one that will lead to the end point you have in mind. These starts and re-starts cycle back through the prior steps in tighter circles as you rework and hone your ideas. This is the most labor intensive phase of the process as well as the most visible to observers.
Finally, after first drafts and edits and perhaps even a total do-over, you have your finished project. It almost never looks like the idea you envisioned but it is a fully formed creative product that has never existed before. Time to celebrate!
We all use the creative process in different areas of our lives – from hobbies to home décor. This is a simplified version, but it gives some clarity. Take it a step further into business and get results you’ve only dreamed of that will bring you the business you really want.
If you’ve got a project you’d like to make happen but don’t know how to start, drop me a note and let’s talk about it.
*The Tin Man’s undead cousins.