Improving yours, and others’ creativity

The Creative Process has six phases…

  • Inspiration: In which you research and generate many ideas
  • Clarification: In which you focus on your goals
  • Evaluation: In which you review your work and learn from it
  • Distillation: In which you decide which of your ideas to work on
  • Incubation: In which you leave the work alone
  • Perspiration: In which you work determindedly on your best ideas

The first letter of each phase spells ‘ICEDIP’ which may help you to remember the phases

To make best use of the creative process:

  • Each phase should be visited many times (in no particular order), sometimes for a very short time
  • You need to adopt the right phase at the right time. For example, no amount of distillation can help if what you need is clarification. Many creative blocks are due to the determined adoption of an inappropriate phase. So if stuck… switch phases!
  • Each phase has a unique and appropriate mindset and you must use the right one. Failure to do so also often leads to a creative block. (see mindsets and blocks)

Why creativity is difficult

Many people do not use all the phases, or visit them enough times. For example when asked to solve a problem an ‘uncreative’ response would be to think of the first solution that comes to mind and then uncritically work this to completion.When you are involved in your creative work, do you make good use of each phase and use each phase as often as you should? This site contains a brief description of all of these phases and there associated mindsets.

How to get better at creativity

A far more detailed look at the creative process, with  techniques to help you work effectively in each of these phases can be found in my book “How to be Better at Creativity” 2nd Edition.  The ‘icedip’ model of the creative process explained in this book was very positively reviewed, after comparison with rivals, by Prof David Moseley et al in the authoritative Handbook ‘Frameworks for Thinking’ (2005) see below.

Buy ‘How to be Better at Creativity:

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‘How to be better at creativity’ reviewed as one of the best models of creativity

Prof David Moseley et al in ‘Frameworks for Thinking’ (2005) Cambridge University Press reviewed the major models of the creative process and found ‘icedip’ to be ‘very clear‘ and  ‘jargon free‘ adding: “By providing a practical framework which teachers can easily explain to learners, Petty has performed a very useful service. His model has cross-curricular relevance and can easily be applied in fields as diverse as drama and computerised brainstorming. It succeeds in its aim ….” p 176. I don’t think another model of creativity got a better review in this ‘Handbook for Teaching and Learning’.  Handbooks summarise research, models and so on, and are regarded as amongst the most objective and reliable sources of advice, this is particularly true of handbooks from Cambridge University Press.

An evidence-based approach to the teaching of creativity

Due to the paragraph above I would say that the ‘icedip’ approach is an evidence-based approach to teaching creativity.

(‘How to be better at Creativity’  was first published by Kogan Page in 1997 and was translated into seven languages.  The new edition came out in 2017.)