The 4 key stages of creativity

The 4 key stages of creativity

The failure to develop an innovative idea is rarely due to a lack of creativity but often to a succession of bad choices at the different stages of reflecting upon and developing this idea. Indeed, the process of developing an innovative idea is long and tedious and it is common to get stuck or lost along the way.

Here are 4 key steps that can help you succeed:

Step 1: Increase your contact with people you don’t know

Inspiration comes by chance, but you can provoke it by accessing new knowledge and new information. Do not look for inspiration in your inner circle of friends, colleagues, family, but with strangers and those from different fields. Just interacting with new people is often a source of inspiration. Get out there, talk to people you don’t know. Visit art galleries, parks (if an apple hadn’t fallen on Newton’s head, where would we be today?) You never know where inspiration will come from!


Step 2: Improve your ideas with your friends.

While inspiration comes from meetings, pertinent feedback and constructive criticism come from people who you trust. Finding someone to talk to who you are close to and who has an innovative vision is essential if you are to receive constructive and useful feedback. This will increase your self-confidence and the desire to share your idea, which is essential.

Using a continuous feedback app like 5Feedback is extremely useful at this point in the creative process.


Step 3: Find sponsors

Once you are ready to share your idea with the rest of the world, it is essential to create an alliance around it. Individuals have a natural tendency to reject new things and innovation. This is why you need to develop your influence and legitimacy so that, on the one hand, you protect your idea from criticism and, on the other hand, you persuade decision-makers to validate it or fund it. Find influential people among your target audiences, and try to make them a part of, or at least link them to, your project. Decision-makers will often attribute you with the same qualities as the people involved in your project.


Step 4: Involve and engage others.

Once you have reached the implementation stage, it is tempting to rely on your knowledge, thinking that the hard part is over. But this is a mistake as you now need to stir up the enthusiasm and support of at least two groups to ensure the success of your idea. The first group consists of people who will work with you to make your idea a reality. They must understand the idea in its entirety and perceive it as if they themselves had imagined it. Do not overprotect your idea, be ready to share it with them. If they don’t believe in it, nobody will!

The second group is consumers or end users. Don’t think for a moment that novelty will be enough to sell your product. You need to get to know your clients and end-users, understand their language and ensure they are on board with your idea and will buy your product.

Pier Vittorio Mannucci, professor at the London Business School and 5 Feedback expert.


Doctor of Management Sciences (HEC Paris) and renowned worldwide for his work on creativity, Pier Vittorio Mannucci has published articles in major international management journals (Organization Science, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal …). His research is based on how creativity can be fostered in individuals and environments that are deemed less creative. His expertise focuses on how people can be consistently creative, and on the effects of social media, technology and culture on individual and collective creativity.


Take a look at other articles by Pier Mannucci:

Drawing Snow White and animating Buzz Lightyear

From creativity to innovation the social media engines of the four phases in the idea journey)

The differential impact of knowledge (The differential impact of depth of knowledge and breadth of knowledge on creativity versus individual careers)

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