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Stages of the creative process

The division of the creative process into stages or phases was introduced to research on scientific creativity by the physiologist Helmholtz and the mathematician Poincar? (1921). Joseph Wallas (1926) distinguished between four stages of the creative process: 1) preparation, 2) incubation, 3) illumination, and 4) verification. This division was generally accepted by the subsequent researches, sometimes with some variations of the name or number of the stages. Thus, Osborn (1953) expanded the list to seven stages: 1) orientation (pointing out the problem); 2) preparation (gathering pertinent data); 3) analysis (breaking down the relevant material); 4) ideation (piling up alternatives by way of ideas); 5) incubation ('letting up, ' to invite illumination); 6) synthesis: putting the pieces together; 7) evaluation: judging the resulting ideas.

Stages of the creative process. Dictionary of Creativity: Terms, Concepts, Theories & Findings in Creativity Research / Compiled and edited by Eugene Gorny., 2007.
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