10 Ways to Develop Creativity in the Brain

10 Ways to Develop Creativity in the Brain 1

Events unfolding at different levels and industries reveal a strong relationship between creativity and success. Cognitive neuroscience has evolved to examine creativity in different contexts and domains. Researches, talks, and experiments on creativity always focus on creativity in the brain.

Findings on creativity in the brain have looked at the right brain and the left brain hemisphere. Though it has been established that the right brain is not exclusively reserved for creativity, it still gains attention.

The research on Large-scale brain network in cognition[1] by Bressler and Menon identified that:

  1. Three brain networks are responsible for creativity. These brain networks are imagination, central executive, and salient networks.
  2. The imagination network is the default mode network. This network is activated when you are not performing work.
  3. The central executive network also called the executive attention network. This brain network works with the conscious mind and prioritizes tasks.
  4. The salient network is the intermediary between the imagination and executive networks.
developing Creativity in the brain

Scientific discoveries are great and have really opened our eyes to the world of impossibilities. In this article, we shall study three (3) personalities whose inventions transformed the world. Using them as case studies, we shall learn how to develop creativity in the brain.

Vision is the Purpose of Living

Let us reflect on our past, where we are today, and what we a pursuing (vision/ dream). In life, learning is a continuous process, because life needs constant improvement to remain relevant.

If you will be relevant and fulfill your dreams, you must answer this pertinent question:

How committed are you to fulfilling your vision?

The genesis of all problems on earth is the man. I mean, you and I. It will also take the man to solve these problems. Just as The Almighty God sent His Son to bring a solution to man’s fall and sinful nature. You are born to bring the solution in your time.

You are not born to leave your future in the hands of the mediocre. You are born to take charge of the future, to be in control and to make society what it ought to be.

To be in control, you need knowledge. This knowledge begins within. In other words,

It is an expression of your internal state of mind to the outside world.

It comes in the form of imagination which builds up ideas that find expression through creativity.

Adapted from the author.

When these ideas manifest in the form of creativity and innovation, we illuminate the dark world. The world finds expression through them and rejoices.

The author

Most discoveries and products the world has experienced and enjoyed are products of the imagination. These imaginations found expression through developing creativity in the brain.

For example, Sir Isaac Newton was asked how he developed the Law of Gravity. His answer was,

By thinking about it.

Isaac Newton

Men who transformed the world had different ways of thinking. This uncommon way of thinking triggered creativity in their brain.

How to Develop Creativity in the Brain: Case Studies

Let’s learn from these great men, who have written their names in the space of time. I believe that an understanding of their ways of thinking will help us to develop the creative force within us.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein is known today as the world’s greatest scientist and a genius. This is because of his phenomenal contributions to science. Some of his discoveries include.

  1. Brownian movement or Zigzag movement of microscopic particles in suspension. This discovery led to the prove that atoms and molecules exist.
  2. Quantum theory of light. In this discovery, he showed that light is made of small packets of energy called quanta or photons. Photons are observed to have properties such as particles and waves. This discovery led to the invention of the television.

As a teenager, his teachers called him slow and lazy. If a man called slow and lazy rose to become a famous scientist, why can’t you stand out in your generation?

According to him,

I never came upon any of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.

Albert Einstein

My question is if he was not thinking rationally, why was he so creative? He has a different way of thinking that others neglect. His way of thinking can help you develop creativity in the brain.

Let’s look at the three ways of developing creativity.

  1. Thinking in Pictures:

Einstein mostly thought in pictures. He pictured things in his mind and performed experiments in his thought. So, his thought process was predominantly in pictures. He visualizes how things should be. From the image drawn in his mind, he constructed his theories.

According to Walter Isaacson, he imagined a man falling from an elevator and a woman that is accelerating upward, who assumes that she was being pulled down by gravity, to construct the theory of General Relativism.

One of his famous quotes is,

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand while imagination embraces the entire world and all there ever will be to know and understand.

Albert Einstein
Creative force of the brain - Einstein Thinking
  1. The Power of Music:

Einstein is noted to take music breaks as part of a creative thinking process. According to Elsa, Einstein’s wife,

Music helps him when he is thinking about his theories. He will come out of his study, strike a few chords on the piano, jots something down, and goes back to study.

Elsa Einstein

I want to believe that music helps him to build up inspiration from within. Taking a musical break will help you to relax and open up your brain network in the default mode.

  1. The Combinatory Play:

It was equally noted that Einstein utilizes combinatory play in his creative thinking process. The combinatory play is a process of combining things that are not related together in other to generate new useful ideas.

For example, you might be thinking on how to solve a big problem but you are not making any headway. Simply leave the task and do something unrelated to free your mind and have fun. This is called combinatory play.

Einstein says,

Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.

Albert Einstein

According to Victoria Stevens,

Combinatory play provides a fertile field for a neuroaesthetic investigation into the direct link between play, imagination, creativity, and empathy.

Victoria Stevens

Combinatory play can help you release stress, combine diverse ideas to get the hidden solution. It can also help change your perspective to see the bigger picture.

For instance, in design and advertisement, you could see a cigarette producing flower. In other words, you are producing a cigarette without hazardous smoke or effect.

Thomas Edison

Another great inventor the world will not forget in a hurry is Thomas Edison. He was credited to 1,093 patents in the United States.

Through his thought processes, he was able to see darkness as a great problem in society and decided to beautify the world with light. Today we have light bulbs illuminating and beautifying every corner of our homes and offices. How did he do it?

Research showed that he had only three (3) years of formal education when he was a child. But as an adult, he was a voracious reader.

I want to believe that the books he read transformed his way of thinking completely. As a result, he was able to develop creativity in the brain, which made him successful.

3 ways of developing Creativity in the Brain

I believe that what made Edison so successful was his creative thinking strategies. Some of which are:

  1. The quantity of Ideas:

Thomas advocated for the number of ideas other than the quality. This relates to brainstorming, as discussed in one of our posts.

Edison believed that a quality idea must come out of many ideas gathered together. This is why he was credited with the saying,

Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.

Thomas Edison

Listing as many ideas, both related and unrelated, makes thinking easy and flexible.

  1. Challenge of Assumptions:

Edison is known to challenge assumptions. It is believed that he does not use many stipulated assumptions in his experiment. He felt that education has blinded people from seeing nature’s great possibilities. This thought is similar to that of Einstein in his quote, “Imagination is more important than knowledge…”

Thomas Edison is also known to try out things considered to be incompatible or non-standard ways of doing things. He usually tries out different things before coming up with an ideal solution.

Creative force of the brain - Edison Thinking
  1. Enthusiasm:

Thomas Edison is always enthusiastic about his inventions and he never accepts failure. His practical way of thinking is to identify why an experiment fails and to learn from it.

He never accepted failure, this is why he was credited with the saying;

I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

Nikola Tesla

Tesla is a great inventor, but he was not well known to the world. He contributed to designing the alternating current electrical system.

I once read on LinkedIn that he worked continuously all through his lifetime, even when in transit. He was such a workaholic that he gets only two (hours) of sleep per day.

The good thing is that his works yielded results. This great man was credited with about 300 patents for his inventions.

What should we learn from his way of thinking and productivity? The following 2 ways of developing creativity in the brain are credited to him.

  1. Visualization:

According to Tesla, in his early years, he usually saw images and these images are accompanied by flashes of light. When one speaks, he would see clearly the image of what was spoken.

This scenario continued to afflict him until he devised a means of freeing himself from the torment. This he did by visualizing things that had never been.

He would go on an imaginative journey to see things in different forms and shapes; things that never existed. He used this method to develop creativity in the brain. As a result, he was able to invent different things.

According to him,

By that faculty of visualizing, which I learned in my boyish efforts to rid myself of annoying images, I have evolved what is, I believe, a new method of materializing inventive ideas and conceptions. It is a method which may be of great usefulness to any imaginative man, whether he is an inventor, businessman or artist.

Nikola Tesla

Tesla hence advised us to take enough time to think and visualize every idea before execution.

According to him, this period of thinking and visualizing the problem is called the period of incubation. It does not matter the time frame.

This period of incubation will present itself with different possible solutions to the problem at hand.

After incubation comes the period of direct effort. At this time, you will carefully choose the possible solution to the problem. Then, you will narrow thinking, investigation, and research towards that direction.

Visualization is a great and effective way of developing creativity in the brain.

Creative force of the brain - Tesla thinking
  1. Solitary walk

According to Tesla, the best moments he received great ideas were times of solitary walk. From time to time he will take a lonely walk, and this became part of his life.

One payoff of this method was when he invented the induction motor.

According to him, he was on a solitary walk in the park when he received a flash of an image. This image after he drew it represented a motor using the rotating magnetic field. This led to the invention of the induction motor.

Steve Jobs

I want to end this article with Steve Jobs. For those who do not know him, he was the founder and chairman of Apple. You remember Apple, as in Mac computer, iPad, and iPhone.

Jobs’ way of thinking revolutionized the computer industry with quality and excellent design. He showed great vision and leadership in his lifetime. We will look at only two ways to complete our list.

  1. Your Instinct does not Lie

I remember reading a book by Donald Trump, Think Big. In this book, Trump emphasized so well about following one’s instincts. He noted that one’s instincts do not lie.

Here, Steve is telling us to follow our instincts, which is one of our basic qualities.

According to him, it does not matter whether others are doing the same thing or not; we must believe in ourselves and follow what our spirit is saying.

The spirit in us will not lie. But most times, fear cripples this instinct within us. This brings us to the second point.

  1. Be Hopeful and Optimistic

Fear and doubt can frustrate a man till his death. Steve tells us to be optimistic at everything we are doing. At this, he meant that we should not give up.

According to him, if what we want to accomplish meant breaking of standard, we should break it. If it meant upsetting people, we should upset them. But we must never let anything put doubt or inflict fear in us.

Believe, have confidence, be patient and optimistic, in due time, your pursuit will yield a great fortune.


Creative thinking can help us discover and put together what we know in order to accomplish the vision.

In this article, we have discussed 10 (ten) potent ways of developing creativity in the brain.

We highlighted four personalities and great inventors who maximized invention through creative thinking. These men were Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and Steve Jobs.

Einstein fancied imagination, music, and combinatory play while Edison preferred quantity of ideas, challenging assumptions and enthusiasm.

Moreover, Tesla utilized visualization and solitude, while Jobs believed in instincts, and optimism to reach success.

I believe that enthusiasm gives energy to ideas. It also brings excitement. This feeling of excitement helps one not to accept failure.

Visualization, on the other hand, brings possible solutions into view. When we see the possibility of solving a problem, it becomes easier to choose a better solution.

In this, Tesla noted that when he had chosen a particular part of solving a problem, he feels the solution. To him, merely chosen a path usually gives him a sense of solution.

I believe that this feeling is a feeling of excitement, it happens to everyone. When you have that feeling, you are confident that you have reached the solution.

Taking a walk is always useful when seeking helpful ideas. You can take a walk to see new things or nature. The good part comes when it is solitary.

At that time, one would have ample time to think and visualize the things he/she sees. Tesla says,

The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude.

Nikola Tesla

Among these techniques of creative thinking, there are some similarities, but we’ve carefully pointed out their differences.

You should note that what works for me may not necessarily work for you. So take your time and identify the methods that will help you develop that creativity hidden within you.

[1] Bressler, S.L. and Menon, V. Large-Scale Brain Networks In Cognition: Emerging Methods And Principles. National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20493761/

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