I recently quoted Helmholtz (see 14 October) and stumbled across his postulation of four stages of creativity. Here it comes, my first episode of a hopefully enjoyable new series titled:
“Applied science: theories, principles and axioms turned onto Commercial Aviation”:
The four stages of creativity in Commercial Aviation
1.1. Definition: Getting involved with the problem. Discovering and exploring the problem and collecting knowledge. Later, creating methods for resolution.
1.2. Application and tools: Depends on the situation and personal preferences in setting the creative process off. I often use recurring thoughts when driving, or when listening to music, or when falling asleep (not in combinations). Others prefer autogenous training, jogging, pacing up and down the office, or rearranging their furniture. Often, an inspiring atmosphere can be fostered by massages or by just listening to your inner voice.
1.3. Example: The summer season was busy and successful, the winter time table is set, however business prospects are bleak due to overcapacity, severe competition, deteriorating yields. Commuting through Berlin’s outer districts, I mull if and how I can improve the business outlook.
2.1. Definition: The process of unconscious combination of various thoughts which were consciously stimulated by mulling over the problem, resulting in new ideas later. Due to its unconscious nature, it is related to intuition, which will reach the conscious stage by what we call an insight. Some critics argue that the phase reduces productivity and hinders concentration.
2.2. Application and tools: It will multiply the odds, and it will set in immediately after the preparation and work automatically in the unconscious mind. There is nothing to do for the rational ego here. You should even deliberately set the problem aside for some time, which is often described as an efficient way, then solutions come out of the blue, or, when thinking about something completely different. This way, neuronal bonds might be separated and free to rearrange.
2.3. Example: Arriving at the office, I struggle through my daily work routine. I have no idea what my unconscious mind is doing along the way. I reckon I will never succeed, and I feel terribly bad about it.
3.1. Definition: The phase of insight, described by a sudden feeling of being correct and true.
3.2. Application and tools: A long-awaited resolution appears seemingly out of the blue, actually from the unconscious mind. Often triggered by perceiving a circumstancial detail or behaviour of bystanders.
3.3. Example: On my way from the printer station back to my desk, I get a sudden flash of genius and shout “Eureka!” I will need to talk to my main competitor XYZ who just decided to downsize below his required capacity. We will need to bury the hatchet over a fussy quarrel dating back to 1993, and I even know the guy who will be the apt arbitrator.
4.1. Definition: Verifying the feasibility of insights, followed by elaborating the approach to solving the problem.
4.2. Application and tools: Documenting, elaborating and presenting the idea. Highlighting functions, values and benefits.
4.3. Example: I pick up the phone and call Marvin, who agrees to see me in the lunch break on Thursday at Ciro’s. I tell my dentist I have to reschedule my annual inspection. A few weeks later, the agreement with XYZ is signed, he mumbles he sort of always felt we were cut from the same cloth.
“If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would be splendid.” (John Maynard Keynes)