Navigating the Orient stage

The four stages of creativity, breakthrough, innovation, and transformation are accompanied by some key practices which can help navigate the difficulties, opportunities, and quick sand inherent in each stage.
 
 The second stage, following wonder, is orient. This is where we do the work of finding our footing in a creative project.
 
 We have been inspired to follow a curiosity, line of thought, insight, or flight of imagination. This is not a passing interest, a moderate commitment. It is more like falling in love. We are taken in by this thing that captured us, and we wonder at it and about it. Now we want to know much more about it and are finding our way toward or into a focus that will lead to a defined project or pathway of investigation and creation.
 
 What are some core practices for navigating the orient stage? The actual practices will vary almost as much as do the possible types of creative project, but will serve a set of common purposes.
 
 1. Seek.
 
 Seeking is the in-taking aspect of exploration. This may involve field work, research, absorbed reading, interviews, tinkering or model-making.
 
 2. Manipulate.
 
 Manipulation is a more active and directed aspect of exploration. The purpose here is to learn more or develop a relationship by interacting with the object of your fascination.
 
 What happens when I do this? What is the range of possible applications or effects?
 
 Where exploring focuses first on gathering, seeking and noticing in a somewhat more passive sense, manipulation begins to create more actively through experimentation or interaction. This could be through dialogue, draft writing, sketching, literal experimentation, rough stages of building, continued model-making, though experiment, active visioning, or any other form of playing with the concept, object or phenomenon.
 
 3. Refine.
 
 With this practice you are integrating what you have discovered, through seeking and manipulating, about the object of your fascination. And you are coming to a clearer focus about the question, insight or vision that first grabbed you.
 
 Now you are refining your thinking and envisioning, getting a clearer big picture about what you are trying to create or discover, and working to find a way forward. What are you after? What is this really about? How in the world do you really get started with this thing?
 
 The actions of the practice of refinement may be the same as for exploring and manipulating, but you will enter more focused ways of approaching these activities. There will be more experimenting, seeking and interacting, but now it is more for the purpose of moving forward into a piece of creative work than about starting to get to know the conditions and boundaries, contexts and possibilities, of the object of your fascination.
 
 Together, these practices embody the principles of exploration and play. Also, they are not actually separate activities but actually overlapping and integrated as well as iterative.
 
 Consider how as a child you first became fascinated with something and then played with it to better understand how it work, what it meant, what it felt like to experience it, how you could relate to it. This is the work of the orient stage.
 
 
 
 

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