Innovation, Creativity, and Brain Integration

Innovation, Creativity, and Brain Integration

Frederick Travis (Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition, Maharishi International University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5514-9.ch010


The heart of creative thinking is the incubation stage, in which ideas freely move on a subconscious level going beyond the limits of the problem space to create new solutions. The incubation stage might be fostered through meditation practices that lead to transcending, such as the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique that cultures greater brain integration in which the brain functions more as a whole. Higher brain integration is seen during the TM session within a few weeks of practice, and after the TM session with regular practice over time. Higher brain integration is associated with higher creativity and greater success in life. Adding the experience of transcending to enhance incubation of creative ideas is innovation from the inside. Training in transcending could be part of forward-looking graduate programs to help their graduates thrive in an ever-changing workspace landscape, and could be a workplace skill to support better performance in many professions.
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Incubation And Illumination

Notice, the first and last stages of creativity involve rational thought, critical analysis and controlled processing. During the first stage, preparation, one scours the existing literature and critically evaluates the designs of the study, their results and possible ramifications. The final stage, verification, also requires focused attention and rational thinking to implement the creative insight. Incubation and illumination have a different character. They are marked by transcendence, going beyond the limits of the problem space to create new solutions (Horan, 2009).

Incubation and illumination are the heart of the creative process. The incubation stage is essential to be able to think “outside the box.” The proverbial box is the problem space that we explore with our rational analysis. If we remain on the level of rational thinking, the content of our thought will remain “in the box.” The incubation period is when we allow task-unrelated or stimulus-independent thinking—allowing the mind to be silent and play with ideas even sub-consciously to take place (Christoff, Irving, Fox, Spreng, & Andrews-Hanna, 2016). This is thinking outside the box.

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