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Best 5 Steps to Boost Your Mental Creativity 2023

Boost Your Mental Creativity

This article describes the general mental creativity process that almost all excellent ideas go through. It’s critical to comprehend this since one of the most valuable abilities is the ability to think creatively. You can apply creative thinking, lateral thinking, and new solutions to almost any challenge you encounter in life or at work.

These five steps can be used by anyone to develop their creative skills. That is not to imply that mental creativity comes naturally. To discover your creative talent, you’ll need a lot of work and bravery. This five-step method, however, ought to assist in demystifying the creative process and illuminating the way toward more inventive thought.

To explain how this process works, let me tell you a short story.

A Problem in Need of a Creative Solution

Newspapers and printers had to deal with a very particular and expensive issue in the 1870s. At the time, photography was a brand-new, innovative medium. More pictures were requested by readers, but no one could find a quick and affordable way to print them.

In the 1870s, for instance, a newspaper had to hire an engraver to manually etch a copy of the photograph onto a steel plate in order to print the image. The image was pressed onto the page using these plates, however, they frequently cracked after a few applications. As you may imagine, the photo engraving process was very costly and time-consuming.

The person who came up with a fix for this issue was Frederic Eugene Ives. At the conclusion of his career, he had more than 70 patents and had pioneered the field of photography. I’ll tell you his creative and innovative narrative today, which serves as a helpful case study to help you comprehend the five essential elements in the creative process.

A Flash of Insight

Ives began his career in Ithaca, New York, as an apprentice printer. Having spent two years mastering the ins and outs of printing, he started overseeing the photography laboratory at Cornell University, which is located nearby. He experimented with new photographic methods and studied optics, printers, and cameras for the remainder of the decade.

In 1881, Ives had a flash of insight regarding a better printing technique.

“I researched the halftone process problem while running my photo stereotype process in Ithaca,” Ives stated. “I went to bed one night with a fog of confusion over the issue, and as soon as I woke up in the morning, I saw the fully functional process and equipment in action, seemingly projected on the ceiling.”

Ives swiftly realized his dream and received a patent for his printing method in 1881. He worked on refining it for the rest of the decade. He created a streamlined method in 1885 that produced even greater outcomes. The so-called Ives Process, which cut image printing costs by a factor of 15, was the go-to method for printing for the next eight decades.

Okay, let’s talk about the mental creativity process insights we can take away from Ives.

Frederic Eugene Ives’ printing method is a prime illustration of the ideal mental creativity process.

Bost your mental creativity
The printing technique created by Frederic Eugene Ives divided a photograph into a collection of small dots using a technique known as “halftone printing.” From a typical viewing distance, the image appears to be a collection of dots that have blended together to create a picture with different hues of gray. (Source: Not clear.

The 5 Stages of the Mental Creativity Process

An advertising executive by the name of James Webb Young released a brief manual called “A Technique for Producing Ideas” in 1940. He said something straightforward but extremely important regarding coming up with original ideas in this guide.

Young asserts that creative ideas arise from creating novel arrangements of well-known components. Stated differently, mental creativity is the ability to take what is already there and combine it in a way that hasn’t been done before, rather than creating something entirely new from scratch.

Above all, the key to coming up with fresh combinations is your ability to see the connections between ideas. You’ve done something inventive if you can create a fresh connection between two dated concepts.

Young believed this process of creative connection always occurred in five steps.

  1. Gather new material.

    You learn first. In this phase, your main goals are to: 1) learn material that is specifically relevant to your activity; and 2) learn general material by developing an interest in a broad variety of subjects.

  2. Thoroughly work over the materials in your mind.

    In this phase, you review the material you have studied by analyzing the data in multiple ways and trying to make disparate concepts work together.

  3. Step away from the problem.

    After that, you completely ignore the issue and go do something else that gives you energy and excitement.

  4. Let your idea return to you.

    Someday, but only after you have given it some space in your mind, your idea will resurface with fresh vitality and a spark of understanding.

  5. Shape and develop your idea based on feedback.

    Any idea that you want to succeed has to be put out there, exposed to feedback, and adjusted as necessary.

The Idea in Practice

These five processes are perfectly shown by the creative process employed by Frederic Eugene Ives.

Ives began by gathering fresh information. After serving as an apprentice printer for two years, he managed Cornell University’s photographic laboratory for four years. He had a wealth of material to draw from and established connections between printing and photography as a result of these encounters.

Secondly, Ives started going over everything he had learned in his head. By 1878, Ives was experimenting with new methods almost exclusively. He was always fiddling and trying out new approaches to combining concepts.

Third, Ives turned his back on the issue. In this instance, he slept for a few hours before having an epiphany. It can sometimes be beneficial to let creative issues rest for prolonged periods of time. You need to engage in something that fascinates you and diverts your attention from the issue, regardless of how long you step away.

Fourth, he got his concept back. When Ives awoke, the answer to his dilemma was right in front of him. (On a personal note, I frequently have creative inspiration strike right before bed. The answer becomes apparent as soon as I allow my brain to shut down for the day.)

Ultimately, Ives spent years honing his concept. He actually filed for a second patent since he had made so many improvements to the procedure. This is a crucial element that is frequently missed. Though excellent ideas are continually evolving, it can be easy to fall in love with your initial version of the idea.

The Creative Process in Short

“An idea is a feat of association, and the height of it is a good metaphor.”
—Robert Frost
The act of creating new connections between preexisting ideas is the creative process. Therefore, we might define creative thinking as the process of identifying connections between ideas.

The five-step process of 1) gathering information, 2) going over the material in your head intensely, 3) stepping away from the problem, 4) allowing the idea to come back to you naturally, and 5) testing your idea in the real world and making adjustments based on feedback is one way to approach creative challenges.

Being the first (or only) to come up with an idea is not a prerequisite for being creative. Connecting ideas is a common aspect of mental creativity.

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