Discuss in Detail The Five Steps of The Creative Process as Described by Csikszentmihalyi in His Book ‘Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention’.

by Aminat Abubakar – Saturday, May 27, 2017

The uniqueness of the human nature in both strength and weakness makes it difficult for people to have uniformity in reaching a novel idea or product. Nevertheless, there are common traits in the way people approach and solve problems creatively. Csikszentmihalyi posits five steps of the creative process, which are preparation, incubation, insight, evaluation, and elaboration. He further explained, “Creativity is any act, idea, or product that changes an existing domain, or that transform an existing domain into a new one” (1996, p. 28).

1. Preparation is the first step during the period when one becomes deeply involved, knowingly or unknowingly in a set of problematic issues that are interesting and arouse curiosity.
2. The second stage is the Incubation period. This is when ideas are beginning to stir up below the level of unconsciousness. Such ideas began to emerge when we want to solve problems and we start processing information in a linear, logical manner. This leads to an unusual connection, thus the path to creativity.
3. The third process leads to Insight or the “Aha!” moment. This is when the puzzle of our thought falls into place.
4. Evaluation is the fourth stage in the creative process. This is the crossroad when we have to decide if the insight is valuable to pursue or not. A period of reflection through self-criticism of soul-searching on whether such idea is accepted by our colleagues and the domain.
5. The fifth step is evaluation; the most difficult and time-consuming process. “Edison stated that creativity consists of 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996, p. 80).

An example of a creative process is building a house. The architect first puts his thought in drawing to come up with a design that would transform into a beautiful house. When it is time for the process of starting the foundation the architect or the builder discovers a structural problem. The architect has to adjust the drawing back and forth until there is satisfaction by both parties; finally, the process now transformed into a beautiful house. Csikszentmihalyi defines a creative person as “Someone whose thoughts or actions change a domain or establish a new domain” (1996, p. 28).

The five steps offer a simplified and relatively valid way to bring together intricacies involved in the creative process. The creative process involves hard work.

Are you ready to harness your creativity? Let us start now!

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention (1st ed.). New York, NY: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.

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