What Makes a Creative Idea?

Let’s take a closer look at creativity

A creative idea can often be many things. But generally, to truly understand creativity and why you have creative ideas, it does well to take a more scientific, almost clinical view. In laymen’s terms, creativity and memory are both ways in which the brain functions. Let’s take a closer look at creativity and its various affects on our lives.

For starters, a creative idea is not a mere flash of light on the screen of the brain. It is, instead, something that takes on a life of its own, taking root in the brain and prompting the mind to do extraordinary things. To put it differently, if you wake up one day and “have a new notion,” you are probably the product of a complex interaction between your neurons. And just as the neurons interact with each other in the brain, they also interact with each other in forming new concepts and ideas. But remember, a new concept, no matter how “innocent” it may seem, is still only a concept until it is formally “taught” by someone else.

the product of long-standing scientific notions

The most interesting aspect of this, perhaps, is that the most creative notions or discoveries are not generally “innocent” at all. In fact, many times the new notions that we come up with are the product of long-standing scientific notions that have been tested and analyzed time and again. Consider, for example, the heliocentric solar system model proposed more than a century ago. The original model called for a spherical earth, with an axis of rotation around the sun, and was not very different from more established theories of the solar system.

However, an astro-physiologist who made a breakthrough analysis of this data discovered that the model actually needed to be rotated around the sun. He claimed that there were six planets rather than the traditional five (and that the innermost planet was slightly too small). After this observation was published, other researchers followed suit and all agreed that the newly discovered objects really did need to be observed. It took nearly thirty years before the heliocentric model of the solar system was accepted as a true model. Amazingly, even today there are those who argue that the heliocentric solar system model is not a creative idea because it is nothing more than a re-casting of earlier work, thus justifying the continued skepticism about the real nature of the mind.

capable of playing an important role in the creative process

But let’s face it, if you can prove that your brain is capable of generating new and innovative notions, then you’ve obviously got something that makes your brain different from all the other brains out there. And if you can show that the number of creative ideas that flow through your creative minds is greater than all the others combined, then you’ve certainly got the proof that you need to convince scientists and authorities of the validity of your particular theory. This is one of the reasons why so many scientists still debate the role that the mind plays in the creation and evolution of life on earth. If there is a way to prove that the mind is indeed capable of playing an important role in the creative process, scientists believe, then they will be able to nail down a specific role for the mind in the evolution of life. Until that time, though, they agree that creativity is probably the product of the random forces of the environment combined with a human being’s inherent capacity to interact with his or her environment.

So what makes a creative idea? Is it some special mental property unique to the creative person? Or does it have a universal appeal because it can apply to any set of people, any set of circumstances and to any set of ideas? When a creative idea is born in someone’s mind, it’s hard to know whether it’s a creative idea or not, since we all come up with ideas at different times and in different ways. But if you’re willing to look past the fact that other people’s ideas seem to have been borne out of the same sources, you may find the very reason for your own creative ideas.

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