THERE ARE NEW INSIGHTS ON THE CREATIVE BRAIN !
is right brain good, left brain bad?
For easy understanding the brain used to be ‘divided’ into creative right brain and logical left brain. That was the old concept.
Today new insights on the brain indicates that creativity is everywhere in the brain whether it’s left-right or up-down. We are actually talking about using the whole brain for creativity rather than use right side of the brain.
When we discussed about creativity, the classic model of the four stages of creativity still
Define, frame, understand and see the problems and challenges in detailed. Keep asking questions until there is absolute clarity. Ask the questions no one sees or asks. Ask enough questions to narrow down and pinpoint as accurately as possible the issues or problems or challenges. Perhaps these so called problems could actually be ‘hidden’ opportunities?
Immerse and dig deep. To create new ideas you need raw materials – facts, rules, concepts, information, feelings and impressions. Here the main task is gathering, sourcing and collating all the necessary and relevant ideas, data, information, figures, etc to help with creative breakthrough. Here you are like an explorer searching for new information. The more divergent the sources, the more original the idea created. However know your objective: what are you trying to find?
Incubation – let it all go & just relax. What ideas are you working on that it would pay you to pause for a little bit? Use it at end of creative session to plant need to solve problem in subconscious. Immerse in problem and situation, exploring all angles and thinking in detail. Go for walk, listen Baroque music, have warm bath, have meal at restaurant, watch fun movie, play with children, watch beautiful sun set, connect with nature, have a quiet time, meditate, do yoga.
Now do nothing to distract conscious mind to leave problem thinking to subconscious. Let Eureka or Aha moment happen. The subconscious mind will eventually reward patience by popping idea into your conscious mind. When this happens is not very predictable. Hence the ‘3Bs’ situations ie in bed, bath or bus (three occasions when you tend to be relax). It is always useful to always carry pen and paper with you. Quickly jot down any flashes of insight or ideas that may pop into your relaxed mind. See if it makes sense and whether you can take the idea further for development.
Development and execution stage. Many brilliant and great ideas fail simply because they are not implemented well. It is almost accurate to a point to say that people whose jobs demand a stream of creative insights have more complicated relationship to creativity.
George Lucas when he has to write a film script goes to a cottage and just keep writing and writing. He does not go into reverie and see what comes to him.
Phil Glass is one of most renowned contemporary composers of this century. He usually gets his creative ideas between 11 am & 3 pm.
Adrienne Weiss (whose job is involved in product branding) was assigned to rebrand Baskin-Robbins. Her task was to come out with a fresh, new logo. Since Baskin-Robbins is famous for its 31 flavors, the focus was on how to make that into something new & distinctive. One night she woke up from a dream in which she saw the name ‘Baskin-Robbins’. Highlighted in the loop of the “B” in Baskin was a “3” & in the stem of the “R” was a “1” – “31,” the number of their flavors.
“Aha!” or “Eureka!” Moments – are moments when you get a sudden insight.
Measuring EEG brain waves during a creative moment it was noticed there is a very high gamma activity that spikes 300 milliseconds before the answer comes to us. Gamma activity indicates the binding together of neurons where the brain cells connect in a new neural network and new association emerges. Immediately after that gamma spike, new idea enters our consciousness.
This heightened activity focuses on temporal area, center on the side of the right neocortex. This is the same brain area that interprets metaphor and ‘gets’ jokes. This is also the same brain area that understands the language of the unconscious what Sigmund Freud called the “primary process” (that is the language of poems, art, myth). It is the logic of dreams, where anything goes and the impossible is possible.
That high gamma spike signals that brain has a new insight. Right hemisphere cells are using these longer branches and connections to other parts of the brain. They have collected more information and put it together in a novel organization.
What’s The Best Way To Mobilize This Brain Ability?
Concentrate intently on a goal or problem, then relax into stage 3: let go. If you are thinking & thinking about it, you will naturally get more tense and not come up with fresh ways of seeing things.
Stage 3 is characterized by high alpha rhythm, which signals mental relaxation, a state of openness, of daydreaming and drifting. It is at this stage of high alpha rhythm where we are more receptive to new ideas.
There was some degree of engagement in a creative problem and during “down time” neural circuits make novel associations and connections.
Is there a way to create the conditions whereby the gamma spike is more likely to occur? Gamma spikes normally come at random; they cannot be forced. But the mental stage can be set – follow the 4 steps above.
There’s a physical marker we sometimes feel during a gamma spike: pleasure. With the “Aha!” comes joy.
Stage 4 is development and implementation stage. Here a good idea will either sink or swim. To overcome this issue of a idea sinking before it is being implemented, the Director of a huge research lab had about 4,000 scientists and engineers under him. He had a rule about creative insight: if somebody offers a novel idea, instead of the next person who speaks shooting it down – which happens all too often in organizational life – the next person who speaks must be an ‘angel’s advocate,’ someone who says, “That’s a good idea & here’s why ….”
Creative ideas are like a fragile bud – they’ve got to be nurtured so they can blossom
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