Creative insights linked to "vacation"
I am speculating -- on the last day in the office before I'm heading to the upper Amazon basin in Ecuador for vacation and light anthropological research -- whether it is possible to experience meaningful coincidences/synchronicity, the identification and evolution of new insights in qualitative research and group/individual creativity, or deep innovative solutions without a period of relaxation inserted somewhere in the creative process. In the original Osborne creative model that was later redeveloped into new systems like Synectics and Creative Problem Solving, there are creative methodologies based upon four steps:
Preparation. A problem or need has been identified and there is intense activity trying to solve it. New methodologies for creativity are applied. The team or individual works hard to figure it out.
Vacation. This is the moment when either through an intentional creative exercise that allows one to escape from the problem for a few moments (for instance, the essential paradox is one such Synectics exercise) or to actually go away for a period of time in which the problem is not thought about but the mind is focusing on something else delightful or adventurous. This allows the brain that has been stimulated in the first preparation stage to recoalesce and reconfigure, unconsciously trying to solve the problem.
A-ha. This stage is when the brain/unconscious has reconfigured the options and comes up with one or more elegant solutions. Some may work; others may lead to something; others may have a part that is useful.
Verification. This stage is the more analytical one. The possible solutions are chosen and worked on to optimize. A final one or two directions is then quantitatively tested or used to begin the new initiative addressing the original problem.
Although the model has many variations and exercises -- depending upon whether we are working on a team creativity/vision session or whether an artist, musician, or designer is working independently on a particular situation -- the second stage of vacation appears necessary in order to let the brain power and unconscious archetypal material use all the stimulation and reform the new ideas.
It may be that synchronicity appears most frequently when the subject is in a relaxed state of mind. However, this hypothesis would bear more investigation.
Nonetheless, while in the jungle and if the paper of the journal does not get too soggy or if the iPad can be plugged in, I will be taking notes of new ideas during this period of environmental change.