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I remember a professor at the college who, while teaching the methodology described by the Italian designer Bruno Munari, exalted the eureka moment: that idea that suddenly appears and that is incredible.
My teacher clearly did not believe in the Munari process or methodologies. At the time, I even agreed with him because that was how I thought the big ideas happened to me, suddenly. But over time, I realized that this is not how creativity works. We need to train the brain to have these eureka moments.
We often need to have a new idea to create something different, something that happens a lot in the day-to-day lives of those who work directly with creativity and when needed to have a light about problems in our lives.
That being said, thinking exhaustively about the subject may not be the best strategy to have an exciting idea. It can result in frustrating moments when we seemingly cannot create anything. It seems that we are constantly looking at the computer screen or the blank sheet.
Behind the creation process
In fact, the creation process can be more complex than we imagine. It’s necessary to consider some factors, including the baggage of references and things that we have already experienced in our lives. Thomas Edson said that talent is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. I believe that this is also valid for creativity. We need to encourage it to seek references and collect data on the subject related to the idea we want to create.
Of course, each person is different and can develop their own technique for this. For some, it is necessary to start, even if incompletely, and then the process of choosing and evaluating information triggers a cascade of activities that lead to a creative idea.
In my case, the eureka moment comes days after I try to create something. First, I research the topic, think about several possibilities, have the first ideas, and make the first sketches. Do these first sketches work? They may even work! But as much as interesting ideas appear, they are obvious, often a copy of a reference already seen a few hours before and that only my subconscious remembers.
That’s why I wait a while. When I leave the project aside, my brain doesn’t stop. So, in everyday moments, like in the bath, on a walk, or before sleeping, or even researching references for a totally different subject, the idea comes, and this is how my real eureka moment occurs.
There is a scientific explanation for this process. Experts call these areas of the brain DMN (default mode network). The incubation phase occurs in these areas that become highly active when we are not doing anything, for example, when we relax or daydream. Thus, when the person’s mind is occupied with something else, the idea reaches the areas of his consciousness.
How do you come up with a eureka moment?
Although it sounds like a romantic story that the idea came up while eating squid in a restaurant (credits to designer Philippe Starck and his famous lemon squeezer), it is very likely that the creative process started long before that.
Therefore, a great tip to avoid “creative pressure” is to start researching. Every idea begins in research before. Even though this can be done almost unintentionally during the journey, some knowledge comes through experiences and everyday life. So, we must exercise every day, even without having a clear goal in mind, search for references, read news, talk to other people and discover the news from various research fields and several other subjects for this to aggregate in our knowledge of life and you can use that baggage to create new ideas
Another valuable tip is always to make a folder of references. Some sites like Pinterest can help in this task by put everything that inspires you, pieces that bring you specific sensations that intrigue you, make you think, and help complete the puzzle in your creative mind.
In addition to this issue of creating an idea by yourself, you can use other resources, such as asking for help from friends or a diverse team with different knowledge and references. You may have heard of brainstorming, one of the many fascinating techniques to bring out our ideas. When you want agility, working as a team can be the best solution. Check out some brainstorming ideas in this Miro tool link.
Often the ideas do not arrive right, and we put together parts of several references to develop our own idea. What counts is to find the method that works best for you, even if it is waiting for an epiphany, as my methodology professor believes.