Bill O’Brien writes “The arts and sciences, technological progress, economic prosperity—nearly every significant advance achieved by entire societies—are driven by human creativity…,” in the report “How Creativity Works in the Brain“. However, the report concludes that despite decades of research on creative thinking the neurology behind an aha moment remains elusive.
Some argue that necessity is the mother of invention while others claim the best ideas are happy accidents, such as the discovery of penicillin. We’ve all heard the quote “genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration”. Yet, also notorious is the Greek and Roman mythical goddesses of inspiration and source of knowledge, the muse.
John Kounios believes insights are generated by unconscious processes that eventually deposit their results into awareness. His research, supported by the National Science Foundation’s Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate, the Creativity Research Lab at Drexel University has been looking at what goes on in the brain when a person is problem solving. His report finds that conscious thought strategies are not effective means for enhancing insight. The best problem solving happens by your brain when you are not aware, in the subconscious through a state of positive mood and defocused attention. (What happens when ‘Aha!’ strikes)
Perhaps scientific methods are a little overwhelming and reading about them is not boosting your creativity. Here’s something a little more digestible “10 Daily Routines for Honing Your Creativity“, published by Fast Company. A combination of these tips may bring about inspiration useful in meeting a big deadline or even assist in making important daily decisions.