It was the summer of 2015. I was enrolled in Buffalo State’s Creativity and Change Leadership Graduate Certificate Program. I was stressed. My work at Ohio State was intense, and being away for the two week in residence summer program was not making anything easier. Add to this the looming feeling of my culminating project, two years worth of work, a presentation on what creativity meant to me, my vision for my future, pretty much the most intense project ever, and I had to do it in front of people. It was all I could think of for weeks prior to coming to Buffalo. I had so many different versions of presentations, I felt stuck. I was driving back to the friends house I was staying, listening to loud music, windows down, singing along, thinking about a party the Graduate Program was throwing us, when it hit. My aha moment, the piece to the missing puzzle that was the theory of my creative journey. I swerved off the road (thankful for little traffic) and immediately starting writing. The euphoria, clarity and intense desire to get working felt like nothing short of a miracle. Words little capture the happiness I felt to finally tie it all together.
I have not thought much about that experience since, except waxing moments of nostalgia, until picking up The Eureka Factor: Aha Moments, Creative Insight, and the Brain, by John Kounios and Mark Beeman. I couldn’t put it down. Two years of studying the field of creativity and the nagging missing piece for me was, show me the science. The tools I learned in the creative problem solving process really do work. I watched them, participated in the process, facilitated the outcomes, but how did it work? This book was my insight into the deeper context of creativity. As the authors eloquently put it, “Insights are quantum leaps of thought, creative breakthroughs that power our lives and our history.” The Eureka Factor perfectly complemented storytelling and science. Through hearing accounts of creative insights from eminent creatives such as Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, and Barbara McClintock, to the everyday creative insights of test subjects and the authors themselves.