5 Stages of Creative Process Explained

5 Stages of Creative Process Explained

Question: Sadler-Smith extended Wallas’s (1926) four stages of the cognitive process of individual creativity into five stages in 2015 namely, Preparation, Incubation, Intimation, Illumination, and Verification.

  • What is the contribution of Policastro (1995) w.r.t the stages of the creative process?
  • Create a business scenario and apply these five stages to improve creative performance. Use real examples, wherever appropriate.
5 Stages of Creative Process Explained
5 Stages of Creative Process Explained

Answer (a): Policastro (1995) suggested the additional stage that should be included in the Creative Process by the name Intuition, before this, there were only 4 stages of the creative process excluding the Intimation process.

Policastro suggested that it is not possible for an individual to evaluate/brainstorm all the factors/information that they have gathered, they first have to explore all the information (Incubation) and then use their gut feeling, their own creativeness the extract the main information (Intimation) that is best suitable for the concern and which can be implemented in their context and then go for evaluation of that information (Illumination)

Example: A company facing motivation issues in their employee, HR Manager used researches and gather around 30-40 de-motivational factors (Incubation), so should they evaluate and deeply analyze all 30-40 factors? No! they first have to extract the factors that suits their company and which they believe could be the reason of de-motivation and should list down 4-5 factors (Intimation) and then only evaluate those listed factors (Illumination).

Answer (b): The business scenario that we are going to discuss was about a problem that Human Resource Department was facing for the Lack of Motivation within the Employee, which was affecting the efficiency level of the organization, thus affecting the overall profits of the firm. As a Human Resource Manager, we will apply this phenomenon of Creative Process in this situation to resolve this issue.

5 Stages of Creative Process Explained
5 Stages of Creative Process Explained

5 Stages of Creative Process Explained


In this stage, we will gather all the data that can help us sort out this issue, which can help us know what are the reasons that make an employee de-motivated and how other companies have cope-up with this problem in the recent time period. To collect the data, we can check out different research papers that have published for the same industry and with the same problem, the recent research paper will work more effectively as those would be the most recent solutions that researchers have come up with.


In this stage, we will use all the data that we have collected in the previous stage and try to extract the most relevant information that can help us coping with the problem. Now it could be the factors that researchers have highlighted that decrease the motivation factors within an employee, say Lower Salary Package, Less Promotion Opportunity, Lack of Safety at Workplace, Lack of Support from Top Management, Discrimination at Workplace, and other factors.


In this stage, we will narrow down the factors that we things can be applied in our organizational context, like from our perspective as HR Manager, maybe Top Management is literally being very tough on the employee lately and because of the centralized authority employee aren’t able to groom themselves with different opportunities they come across on daily basis, or maybe Salary Package provided by our organization is actually lower than other organization.

So these are the two reasons that we have come across after all the brainstorming we have done in previous stages.


Now in this stage, we will evaluate all the possible steps that we can take to overcome those two reasons that we come across in 3rd stage, we’ll check whether apply the different solution on the above-highlighted factors can increase the motivation level of employee or not, for this purpose we can also conduct research in our organization to collect the data from employee to ensure the factors are correctly examined.

So for the 1st factor, we can reduce the strictness level by the top management and provide freedom to the employee to some extend and use transformational leadership tactics in order to make a supportive environment for the employees and for the 2nd factor we can announce a pay raise for every department or add up some additional allowance for the employee.


In this final stage, we will implement the final solution that we have come up with to deal the problem and after applying the solution we would thoroughly analyze the outcome that whether employee got motivated or not with the provided solution and whether the efficiency of the firm which was the main concern was established or not.

5 Stages of Creative Process Explained


Karen E. Lauterbach, Bryan J. Weiner, Dynamics of upward influence: How male and female managers get their way, The Leadership Quarterly, Volume 7, Issue 1, 1996, Pages 87-107

5 Stages of Creative Process Explained

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