Unlocking Creative Insight


The purpose of this research was to develop a model for how individuals unlock creative insight. Creative problem solving (CPS) is inherent to effective decision making, innovation, and organizational development tasks but insight, innovation and creativity remain intangible concepts. The study describes the what, how, and why of creative insight. The model, built from in-depth interviews with 325 participants tackling a variety of problems demanding insight, proposes that creative insight involves an eight stage cyclical process – Identification, Analysis, Representation, Appraisal, Focus, Solution Generation, Evaluation, and Restructuring or ‘Stuckedness’– linked by the cognitive mechanisms of interpretation and readiness and resulting in either a state of insight, impasse, or ‘stuckedness’. The research has implications for individual, team and organizational settings suggesting that performance on a wide variety of problems may be improved by utilizing an integrated focus.

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