How to get to an insight – plan ‘incubation periods’

I am always interested to hear the ways fellow researchers, designers or consultants reach their insights. I found this article today that talks about distracting your brain or creating ‘incubation periods’ to allow the creative process to come forth and almost magically give you the clarity and insight you need.

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I’ve written on this before about what constitutes productive time as a researcher. This new article has a bunch of links to other research on why disconnecting and doing something different can often create the spark needed for the major a-ha! moment. The article concludes that “what all of this research suggests is that peak creativity happens when we’re pleasantly absent-minded”.

Pleasantly absent-minded – sounds blissful!

One of the suggestions the article puts forward is to plan time for disengagement and distraction. I imagine this is what we intuitively know (but can sometimes forget) when we go for a walk outside to get out of the office, or go eat something or do a load of laundry when working from home. These meditative, repetitive or seemingly mindless tasks carry great power and may in fact lead you to your next insight!

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