Reports of insights or "aha!” moments as source of innovative ideas at the core of creative processes fascinate people since Archimedes’ "Eureka!" discovery. Anecdotes about "insights" leading to key findings by renowned scientists like Helmholtz and Poincaré have built the starting points for researchers of productive thinking and gestalt psychologists’ takes on creative problem solving in the first half of the 20th century. They have paved the way for various approaches in creativity research to studying insights after WW2 up until the 1990s. Unresolved debates about the status of insights between "normal thinking" and "special processes" as well as growing criticism regarding the ill / too broadly defined concept has led to fading scholarly interest especially in (cognitive-)psychology after that. Recent contributions to the neuroscience of creativity show a regained interest in insight phenomena. Very often the approaches and study designs remain at the level of simply transferring cognitive psychology lab tasks (i.e., RAT) to fMRI studies though, without resolving any of the underlying conceptual issues. In order to be able to make contributions to clarifying them, it seems favorable to deploy an "in vivo" approach parallel to "in-vitro" studies and collect more "real world" data of creative processes to elucidate the status of insights and "aha!” moments in them. In my talk I am therefore going to present (video)ethnographic data of design teams collected during my PhD project, and discuss potential pathways for further conceptual clarification across various disciplinary, theoretical, and methodological approaches. Triggered by the work on one of my recent articles I look forward to conversations to potentially inspire design studies and creativity research through analogies and heuristics from state of the art EvoDevo theories.
Stefan Wiltschnig works as Creativity Researcher and PhD Fellow at Copenhagen Business School. In his PhD project, funded by the EU FP 7 initial training network "DESIRE - Creative Design for Innovation in Science and Technology," he is studying insight moments in creative processes using a multidisciplinary approach between cognitive science, management, and design thinking. At the core is the passion to develop his knowing about what spurs creativity and enables fruitful cooperation. He is trained as telecommunication engineer and graduated in business administration from WU Vienna with majors in entrepreneurship and innovation as well as process and project management. Additionally he has studied Cognitive Science at the Universities of Vienna and Ljubljana.