Problem Finding: 5 Stages of Creativity

Csikszentmihalyi (1996) presents five stages of creativity:

  1. preparation, becoming curious about ideas or questions
  2. incubation, subconsciously making connections
  3. insight, when an understanding is realized
  4. evaluation, analyzing the worthiness of the problem
  5. and elaboration, the physical realization of the idea.

Under typical constraints of school schedules, the first four stages of problem finding and solving are often compressed, leaving much more time for the final stage where the artwork is pursued. Some teachers engage learners in discussions that promote divergent thinking toward solving an assigned problem. Other teachers avoid the stages of problem finding altogether by assigning the problem to students with no discussion, and students resort to convergent thinking with limited creativity.

Diane Jaquith, (2011) “When is creativity?” Art Education, 64(1), pp. 14-19.


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