Creativity comes in the stretch.

When it comes to the creative process, I recommend following the “recipe” discussed with Kevin Craine on his Everyday MBA podcast. First, you need to identify a goal — what do you want to create? Then, begin gathering data and exploring possible outcomes that align with your creative, “How to” and “How might” questions. And finally, select the best ideas and identify solutions.

The first process of generating all these ideas — I recommend around 35 — is called divergent thinking; after that, when you start to select and refine ideas, it transitions to convergent thinking. You’ll often find that many of the ideas you choose will be some of the final ones thought of, the middle ground between the existing and silly ideas that reflect both types of extreme. As I said to Craine, “Creativity comes in the stretch, innovation comes in the stretch.”