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Time, Space & the Creative Process

By Michelle Lehman, director of student & client services

Time, Space & The Creative Process  

In February, I stumbled upon an article from the New York Times that reported on the surge of entrepreneurial activity amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This surge in innovation is often referred to by researchers as an “entrepreneurial boom.”  

There are multiple theories that back up the why behind the boom. Some of the most popular ideas include the increase in household government funding, high personal saving rates, the demand for financial independence and new gaps in the marketplace.  

Although all these theories are valid, I have a different perspective on why the national entrepreneurial spirit is booming. During the pandemic, people were given the space and time to engage in the creative process.  

I often hear students make statements like ‘well, I’m just not creative!’ It’s a common misconception that one needs to be born creative or have a natural gift to create. Although some research shows that creativity can be related to biology, it can also be learned by everyone.  

According to James Taylor, an award-winning speaker and internationally recognized leader in creativity and innovation, there are 5 steps to the creative process: preparationincubation, insight, evaluation and elaboration.  

Let’s focus on the first step, preparation. In the preparation phase, one needs to be fully present. When preparing to be creative, it’s important to observe your surroundings and absorb all different types of stimuli from your environment. This stage gets the subconscious brain ready for the next stage of the creative process, incubation, where ideas start to form! 

For a large portion of the population, it’s difficult to enter the preparation phase. Why? Because the world is fast moving, noisy and constantly changing. When we are inundated with too many obligations, too much technology and too little time, it seemingly becomes more difficult to be fully present. Without the mental space to absorb stimuli freely, the rest of the process just doesn’t work.  

That brings me back to my main point. The pandemic slowed us down. Peoples’ routines were put on pause. For some of us, that pause gave us the space and time to be fully present and think. In turn, stimulating the creative process and acting as a catalyst for the entrepreneurial boom.  

As we enter the post-pandemic world, let’s remember the power of time and space and not forget the first step to the creative process. Read more about the creative process here.  

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