4 Stages of Creative Thinking

May 7, 2018

There is not a day that goes by that an entrepreneur does not have to think creatively; their livelihood depends on it.

Given the transient nature of today’s workplace, wage-earners are wise to hone their creative thinking skills as earnestly as an entrepreneur. 

Creativity is something we all have and can all cultivate. It’s what gives us the ability to find new solutions to ordinary issues.  The beauty of creative thinking is it involves reasoning and imagination, making it a form of whole brain thinking.

Four Stages of Creative Thinking:


This is the beginning stage where you roll your sleeves up and gather the facts and resources related to the challenge at hand.  Thinking positively and without judgement at this leg of the journey will facilitate and speed up your thinking. Whatever it is you are trying to determine, think of it as a challenge to be met rather than a problem to be solved.  

Ask daring questions at this stage.  Imaginative solutions come more from asking bold questions than finding right answers.  Bold questions stimulate new thinking patterns that lead to an expansion of possibilities.

Consider asking yourself the following questions:  How can I frame the challenge as a question? What are the relevant facts?  Who and what can contribute to meeting this challenge?

By involving others in the process we increase our creative ability by learning from others, collaborating and sharing.


Incubation can be one of the hardest stages for some because it requires us to be still and focus our attention in other areas.  Dare I say it may even involve play. Play is actually a key discipline and strategy to creative thinking.

Creativity does not work on demand.  And although it may not seem like it, there is contemplation about meeting the challenge going on in the recesses of the mind.


Here is where the conscious mind returns to the challenge at hand and creative ideas begin to pop.  This is where you will see the payoff from the previous stages in the form of expanded of possibilities.


The fourth stage of creative thinking is  where you verify if you have met the challenge or not.  If whatever you have decided upon works, you know you have met the challenge.  If not, you can return to a previous stage of the process or make modification to the impending resolve.  

No matter how you make your living, you’re never really stuck or at the mercy of another because you always have the capacity to create.  A simple way to practice this skill is to try new and different ways of doing things each and every day. Practice will help you have the confidence to challenge whatever the current state of affairs in your life may be and meet life’s challenges head on.