5 Stages

This quest is a biggie.


Take your time with this one because much of your success in design is found in your process rather than simply the product you end with.

Every creative journey begins with a problem. It starts with a feeling of frustration, the dull ache of not being able to find the answer. We have worked hard, but we’ve hit the wall. We have no idea what to do next.

…The feeling of frustration—the act of being stumped—is an essential part of the creative process. Before we can find the answer—before we probably even know the question—we must be immersed in disappointment, convinced that a solution is beyond our reach.
— Jonah Lehrer / Imagine: How Creativity Works 



5 Stages of Creativity

Pay attention to detail then document your mastery.*

01: First Insight Seek and/or discover problems that need solving. (This will be in the form of Quests, assigned or self-directed. One of us will be defining a problem in need of a solution.)

“The formulation of a problem,” said Albert Einstein, “is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill. To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old questions from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advances in science.”
— A. Einstein and I. Infeld / The Evolution of Physics

02: Saturation Gather, sort, and categorize information. (I’ve gotten the ball rolling finding Inspiration in from previous agents. Don’t underestimate the value of looking at the same imagery dozens of times. That’s what the right brain needs to shift into its pattern recognition, intuitive, problem-solving mode.)

The unconscious, though one cannot force it, will not produce new ideas unless it has been painstakingly stuffed full of facts, impressions, concepts, and an endless series of conscious ruminations and attempted solutions. On this we have the testimony of many creative people.
— Morton Hunt / The Universe Within

It seems, then, to be one of the paradoxes of creativity that in order to think originally, we must familiarize ourselves with the ideas of others.
— George Kneller, The Art and Science of Creativity

03: Incubation Searching for a solution. Trial and error. Brainstorming. (Here’s where imagination and intuition play their part, if you’ve stuck with the process.)

It [the right hemisphere] needs exposure to rich and associative patterns, which it tends to grasp as wholes. Programmed instruction is certainly not for the right hemisphere, but I am not sure what is the right method of instruction for our silent half. It is part of the elusiveness of the right hemisphere that we find it easier to say what it is not than what it is.
— Eran Zaidel / The Elusive Right Hemisphere of the Brain

04: Ah-Ha! The solution suddenly appears. (This is the mysterious moment of clarity, the instantaneous moment of knowing, the magic moment of the creative process. Few students are diligent enough to experience this. Will you be different? Or will you be yet another flatliner?)

I can remember the very spot in the road, whilst in my carriage, when to my joy the solution occurred to me.
— The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin

05: Verification Acting on the Ah-Ha moment. Testing your insight. (This is not only following through on your idea, but taking it that final 10% after you think you’re finished, boldly going where few students have gone before.

A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre and the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility than most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson / Self-Reliance

— taken from Betty Edwards exceptional book, Drawing on the Artist Within


COMPLETE: Once you have thoroughly read this at least once you may complete.

Heads Up: This is a quest you’re going to return to again and again.

This is a quest that can't be over emphasized as you simply can't be a great designer with out understanding how you get there.


Document your understanding clearly and carefully to claim mastery.


*You’ll never completely master this quest, now or later.
The creative process is a mystery to return to again and again.
Document what you think you know for now on a new Design Skill Post.
Be sure to follow the instructions or you may live to lament the loss.

If you did this one well, AWESOME.

You will likely be asked to repeat this quest later so don't be surprised at the option to repeat this one for more loot in the future.


MASTER AGAIN: When the situation calls for it re-documenting your understanding of the Creative Process and its importance. You will be rewarded well for your continued advancement in posibly the most important single quest in this class.


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