The Creative Process Has Five Stages

A structured process for creativity in advertising

Creative advertising can be seen as a combination of creative strategy and creative tactics. Where creative strategy constitutes deciding what the advertising message wants to convey while the creative tactics deal with how the advertising message is to be executed. Experts view the creative advertising  process to be exactly like an assembly line- organized, sequential, controlled and efficient. Using process models for creativity in planning strategy can be useful since they offer an organized approach to creative problem solving. 

Pioneering creative process theorist Graham Wallas believed creative insights and illuminations emerge from a five-stage process. There are several process models used in brainstorming creative ideas, this one from Wallas I particularly like, and feel the stages he's outlined have been my process too. 

1. Preparation (assimilating content and knowledge, preparatory work on a problem, exploring the problem’s dimensions) - Fact-Finding

2. Incubation (where the problem is internalized into the unconscious mind and nothing appears externally) - Problem-Finding

3. Intimation (the creative person gets a “feeling” that a solution is on its way) - Idea-Finding

4. Illumination (insight where the creative idea bursts forth from its preconscious processing into conscious awareness) - Solution-Finding

5. Verification (where the idea is consciously verified, elaborated, and then applied) - Acceptance-Finding

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