There is a step in the development of creative ideas that you can’t really plan around. It takes as long as it takes, although you can prime yourself for success. The idea behind this step is familiar to anyone who’s had a flash of insight during that thinking but not thinking time while taking the proverbial shower.
It’s when you allow your subconscious mind to put it all together.
Murray’s metaphorical explanation is that we tend to think in ruts, to slowly create deep mined paths. Only the subconscious is able to make the types of connections that we really need to make to continue with the process of innovation.
Bake the Cake
Or at least that’s the metaphor that came to my mind while writing.
First you provide the input. You deliberately talk to yourself and allow yourself to hold a problem in your mind.
Then you let it incubate or simmer or bake while you do other things and stop thinking about it, even if only for a few minutes.
And finally you pull out a new thought, accepting that it could bring with it a new reality.
For another perspective on this incubation step in the creative process visit Lateral Action’s Why Thinking is Overrated – and make sure to read the comments too.
More on Borrowing Brilliance
The chapter in Borrowing Brilliance describing this principle is lyrical and worth reading almost for that purpose alone. This post is the fourth in a series looking in the principles of the book. You can find the others at: