Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Creative Unconscious

Ideas are generally seen as an epiphany when all becomes clear in a magic light-bulb moment. Not all ideas, however, are created equal. We can be consciously searching for a solution to a problem, but at the same time our brains are subconsciously finding other kinds of knowledge that may be helpful to our resolution.

Researchers generally define the creative process in two phases: divergence and convergence. In the divergent phase, we generate a lot of potential ideas, while in the convergent phase we evaluate these ideas and focus on the most promising.

Over time we get better at divergence as we compile experiences that we can call on, and it is during medium durations of divergence that the largest number of ideas are active, rather than during short brainstorming sessions.

What does this mean in the context of idea creation?

It means that some ideas are best left to their own devices. Occupying our conscious thoughts with other activities means that we are letting an idea find its own connections in our subconscious.

3 comments:

Lime said...

Hi, Kevin,

I am a graduate student majoring in integrated marketing communication. I am doing a research about you and your idea of Lovemarks for my creative thinking class.

I just read the article on Architectural Digest talking about you home in New York. It seems that you are a fan of minimalism. Will you use minimalist elements in your work space? What kind of work space do you think could inspire creativity, sharing and innovation?

Best,

Stella

Kevin Roberts said...

Dear Stella, yes I love minimalism: clean lines, no clutter, transparency, light, few things to distract from the main event – which in the work place are other people (colleagues), ideas, single striking pieces of art, and if you have it, as we do in New York, one of the best views in the world. I don’t like mess, it’s ill-disciplined. The visual senses should be on alert for surprise and beauty, not pre-occupied by trash in the foreground. My country house in the north of England is more rustic, personal, warm, it’s like comfort food on a winter’s day, so I am not an ascetic in all elements of my life.

The workplace should have as few walls as possible, and where there needs to be, they should be glass. Ideas, like air, need to circulate. The furniture should be comfortable but not too comfortable, we like people who are passionate, competitive, restless, and team players – and you don’t get to be one of these people by sitting in one place for too long. Saatchi & Saatchi has always had a minimalist approach- a single logo – the name in Goudy Old Style BT – black on white, that’s always been it. A lot of white so that the moving stuff, be it people, ideas or screens, can be where the action is. KR

'V' Crew said...

Hi Kevin

Your post was rather timely. I've been exploring ways of accessing the subconscious directly to work through identifying solutions to complex creative problems. I've been drawing on shamanic techniques and active imagination as developed by Carl Jung. I feel I've reached a point where my technique produces results. To be honest I'm surprised that so little investigation has been done to develop exercises for working in this way. I think the general consensus is that we think consciously then wait for the subconscious to kick in whenever it feels like. I don't except this view. I don't think we need to wait around for the subconscious to make a contribution. I think we take the initiative and contact it. Think about it, if you want an answer do you wait around for someone to tell you? Or do you seek it out yourself. Good to know this topic is coming to the fore. Thanks for raising interest in this topic.
Cheers
Gavin.