Delight in the A-Ha Moment – A 5-Step Technique for Producing Ideas circa 1939
Just recently I was very excited to read some ideas from James Webb Young whom in 1939 wrote, ‘A technique for producing ideas’.
Young was one of the first to promote creativity as connections, the power of observation and intuition. If we were to make a creativity formula it might look something like this:
1. Gather materials with curiosity.
“Every really good creative person whom I have ever known has always had two noticeable characteristics. First, there was no subject under the sun in which he could not easily get interested”. Stay curious, feed the curiosity (in a healthy way). When starting your next project gather components that might seem to fit. Things you find interesting and fascinating.
2. Digesting the information – seek new relationships.
“What you do is to take the different bits of material which you have gathered and feel them all over, as it were, with the tentacles of the mind. You take one fact, turn it this way and that, look at it in different lights, and feel for the meaning of it. You bring two facts together and see how they fit. What you are seeking now is the relationship, a synthesis where everything will come together in a neat combination, like a jig-saw puzzle.”
Don’t analyze. Seek the relationship even if it’s abstract.
3. Let it go!
When you reach this third stage in the production of an idea, drop the problem completely and turn to whatever stimulates your imagination and emotions.
Don’t try to make sense of it. Process the items you are working with and let it go.
4. The A-Ha Moment: Out of nowhere the Idea will appear!
“It will come to you when you are least expecting it — while shaving, or bathing, or most often when you are half awake in the morning. It may waken you in the middle of the night.”
The A-Ha Moment is always the best moment!
5. Idea has to meet reality.
Now all the dreaming has to become tangible.
“It requires a deal of patience working over to make most ideas fit the exact conditions, or the practical exigencies, under which they must work. And here is where many good ideas are lost. The idea man, like the inventor, is often not patient enough or practical enough to go through with this adapting part of the process. But it has to be done if you are to put ideas to work in a work-a-day world.”