Can you train for insight?

Kelly-Ann Denton

Can we exercise our thinking to create more potential for insight? 

Eureka or aha moments are what psychologists call “insight”. This form of creativity is the sudden experience of comprehending something that you hadn't understood before, illuminating a path forward when one may have been stuck...... connecting or combining concepts that form new thoughts or visions. This sudden clarity is also defined as imagination and is not only a building block for creativity, but it also underpins creative problem-solving.
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Insights have distinct features – since we can’t demand them, we need to learn how to allow them.

This is why Design Thinking doesn’t make you any more creative than a brainstorming session. While Design Thinking has processes that have a purpose, it is incorrect to presume they make you more imaginative and therefore creative.

Trying to control imagination is the opposite of what is necessary to generate original ideas. Imagine holding a proverbial gun to one's head to compel them to write a hit song – it’s just not the way we work. 

When we learn how to prepare for ideas we become more imaginative and then, only then, can we help our students do the same.

Another lesser-known feature of “insight” is that it is a visual skill. Even the very word “insight” is made of a visual connotation “in-sight”.
As neuroscientist and author of The Eureka Factor: Creative Insights and the Brain - Professor John Kounios writes:

The other key feature of insights is that they yield, often literally, a different way of looking at things......That’s why people often use expressions such as 'seeing things in a new light' or 'seeing things from a different angle' to describe insights"
John Kounios
the v series

Teachers and their growing potential

The education system is focused on developing creative and critical thinking capabilities, and works exclusively with Teachers and Principals to ensure they have up to date, relevant information and skills to deliver on this objective. We can stop stressing-out our teachers and start giving them the skills to grow their creative potential, but we will have to be open to trying new pedagogies based on new findings in science.

Our course V1_The Neuroscience of Imagination explores ways to enrich the imagination, creative and critical thinking via visual learning. The programming is designed to begin the process of professional development for Teachers and Principals. grows the roots of an imaginative mind.

An understanding of the imagination, visual thinking and creativity in general will help teachers identify WHY they are teaching FOR creativity. This begins with the neuroscience.
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Dendritic Arborisation

The word dendrite comes from the Greek ‘déndron’ meaning tree. A dendrite is a part of the structure of a neuron in our brains, and we have 120 billion of them. As you already know, brains are highly dynamic, imaginative and adaptable. Through the processes of seeing and doing we are constantly pruning, rearranging, and growing our potential. 

Enriched as opposed to impoverished environments grow our creative potential. In 2009 neuroscientists observed that happy unstressed people had 50% more creative ability. They measured this scientifically by scanning and looking at changes in the visual cortex.

They then decided to perform experiments on rats to reconfirm the findings. They found that the rats in cages with environments that included toys, play, companionship, food and diverse forms of engagement had grown dendrites. Rats that were isolated and stressed did not.

The picture above shows us what enriched neurons and dendrites look like compared to impoverished. Can you see the similarities to branches of a healthy vs. unhealthy tree?
We are extremely fortunate to have a plethora of new information available to us via EEG’s and fMRI’s that show us how we think changes our brains and therefore our outcomes. Under the right conditions we can grow a new brain at any stage of our lives. This opens up all sorts of possibilities for learning and creative thought – not only in schools and workplaces but in all facets of our lives.

Dendritic arborisation, also known as dendritic branching, is a multi-step biological process by which neurons form new dendritic trees and branches to create new synapses, new ideas and new possibilities. There are literal forests in our brain, so the metaphor is very elegant.

Neurogenesis is the creation of new dendrites and neurons which form new neural nets and packages of information. Growing dendrites is the objective because the more dendrites we grow the more imaginative potential we have. The more imagination we have, the more creative we become, and the easier it is for us to see new possibilities and perspective. This is obviously a key to critical thinking. We need to focus on growing the potential [trees] in our brain.
First and foremost, this is why developing and growing imaginative, creative and critical thinking capabilities in our teachers is super important. We want to provide it for our school kids. If our teachers better understand imagination, they will be in a position to build these capabilities into our schools and our students. Dendritic arborisation, also known as dendritic branching, is a multi-step biological process by which neurons form new dendritic trees and branches to create new synapses, new ideas and new possibilities. There are literal forests in our brain, so the metaphor is very elegant.

excerpt from v1_the neuroscience of imagination
So, in summary if you want to develop "in-sight" begin developing your visual skills.
You can start with The V Series and build up knowledge in imagination, creativity and critical thinking.
What makes us different

Watch. Learn. Improve.

The V (visual) series of courses are part of a cluster of imagination/visual learning disciplines that form a turning point in imagination training. 
V1_The Neuroscience of Imagination lays the foundation for a better understanding of what creativity is and how to develop it.
V1 to V9 follow on from each other in order to build on skills as participants journey through the imagination learning process.
These thinking processes directly affect our ability to be better critical thinkers and absolutely develop our ability to be imaginative and therefore more creative.

The Visual School

The V Series equips teachers and imagination seekers with the knowledge and skills to inspire students and explore their own imagination. Visual skills help us to see more possibilities.

Steiner School

The S Series are Steiner programs that support teachers to grow their own and their students’ imaginations and skills that facilitate the development of ethical & sustainable living environments.

National Art School

The Visual Mind and The Imagination is a 6 week program run via Zoom at the National Art School.  Alumni can continue to develop their concepts and creations via this portal after graduating from NAS.

Guest Speaking conducts 90min Blasts that provide schools, universities and workplaces broad knowledge on the development of critical and creative thinking skills. We can also be booked to your brief.