ICEDIP and creative process

Is there a common process to creativity?

Geoff Petty thinks so. ICEDIP is Petty’s six-phase model of the creative process.

It divides the creative process into six phases:

INSPIRATION, where you explore, generate ideas, have visions, research similar projects, brainstorm and dream.

CLARIFICATION, where you discuss your aims, focus on your goals, research costs and assess risks.

EVALUATION, where you assess which ideas have best potential, and how to improve your work as it moves forwards.

DISTILLATION – the process of concentrating or boiling your ideas down into a single vision.

INCUBATION, or not thinking about your idea! This phase is about letting go and allowing new connections to happen naturally. You may have the occasional ponder.

PERSPIRATION, the hard work phase where you actually put plans into action, with determination.

Petty recommends you need use the six phases in any order you wish.

Personally I find this neatly labels a process we have all been using within creative projects for many years. However it is interesting to note Petty includes incubation, the idea of not working on a project, as a beneficial phase. My best work has included this phase but I have sometimes left this out with projects on a tight timescales.

Petty reminds me not to do this. He is right. There are parts of the creative process that will always be a mystery. We do not truly know where ideas come from, for instance. Incubation allows this mystery to remain, without seeking to grasp at it for definition. And as the Zen saying goes, he who grasps loses.

Can we learn the value of doing nothing?

The Timeboard – get creative with your scheduling

Are you a creative, looking to improve your scheduling? Is your schedule different every week?  Are you sick of reading business guides about scheduling that have no relevance to creatives?

Jenna Hubbard, Project Assistant at ICE, recently introduced me to the concept of a Timeboard. And no, this has nothing to do with Doctor Who or time travelling.  

Get creative with your scheduling!

A Timeboard is just a simple way of scheduling for creatives.  It is extremely useful when you have certain core activities but your schedule changes every week.
It’s very simple.  You take a big piece of paper and split it into seven columns, one for each day of the week.  Label each column clearly.  Then grab some coloured Post-Its and a marker pen. Each Post-It becomes a block of time.  Let’s say Monday you spend two hours emailing.  Great, just write Email, 2 hours on one colour of Post-It. Then stick it on the chart under Monday.  Put different kinds of activities in different colours.

Afterwards, take a red pen and a blue pen and put stars on the Post-Its.  A red star indicates where you give energy.  A blue star indicates where you receive energy.  This can help you keep track of how energising or tiring your weeks are, and prevent burn-out.

Then once a week you can sit down and plan your week ahead.  If things change, no worries! Just take off one Post-It and replace it with another.

If you suddenly have a week-long project that usurps everything else,   When a week changes like this, the way you spend your days changes. All those housekeeping, adminny things get left behind.  Maybe emailing goes out of the window. No problem! Can you fit emailing in on a Sunday evening?  Or will you just lose emailing for a week and survive?  

Take off the Post-Its for activities you don’t do, and put them under or around your Timeboard. Then you can clearly see what you have, and have not made time for.  

You can see the dotted red line on my Timeboard separates my schedule from those activities I haven’t made time for.  I don’t have much wall space, so I put mine onto A1 card I can move around my flat.  

A few weeks after I made my Timeboard, there had been no progress in one area of my business.  I checked my Timeboard to find this was the one Post-It that repeatedly never made it into my schedule.  No surprise there’s been no change!

The Timeboard is a revolution for me, and one of the best scheduling tools I have ever seen for creatives.

What you put on your Timeboard is entirely up to you.  If meditation is vital to your daily schedule, put it in!  On mine I have my yoga classes, time for walks and I have even figured in time for creative play.

So get yourself a Timeboard, and get creative with your schedule.