A Creative Thinking Framework

So it seems there is a formula, a framework for creative thinking. Creativity is different than intelligence. With intelligence, more is better–more thinking, more information, more knowledge. To foster creativity, from the perspective of how the brain works, less is better–less thinking anyway, in the conventional sense. It’s about allowing freer interplay between different areas of the brain to allow more connectivity, more linking in unexpected ways—the source of fresh ideas and innovation.

We’ve been hearing about the ‘Right Brain Thing’ for years now, beginning with  Betty Edwards of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain fame. She came up with the formula illustrated above to describe this interplay. Her version speaks to the interplay between right and left brain functions when it comes to how we get our best ideas, or ‘mind-pops’—our Eureka” moments. More recent neuroscience speaks to a somewhat more complex formula involving down regulation of the frontal lobe (thinking/conscious aspect) known as transient hypofrontality, a term I first heard from neuropsychologist Rex Jung. We’ve all had the experience of the solution to a problem or a really cool insight coming from seemingly ‘out of the blue’. That would be our right brain, our subconscious, intuitive, spontaneous, pattern seeing brain which we can only access by shutting down our ‘thinking’ brain.  The amazing thing is that, once we really understand how and why this works, we can leverage this awareness in the service of heightened creativity. It’s simply about controlling the conversation in our heads, rather than letting it control us. It’s about allowing the interplay to happen. The really good news is all manners of doing so contribute massively to our overall state of well being and make us……happier!

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