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This article constitutes an effort to gain insights into the nature of creativity and its mechanisms leading to creative solutions to problems. This article claims that reflection constitutes the underlying mechanism, serving as a catalyst for creativity. A total of five experiments is presented, incurred in industrial and academic research environments and pedagogical settings, that demonstrate the occurrence of creativity, deliberately triggered by reflection. The key contribution of this article is that, although the exact definition of creativity continues to elude us, two mechanisms have been uncovered that are potentially useful in triggering creativity, at will, in ordinary scientific and engineering personnel to achieve quantum leaps in our knowledge and achievement. Reflection plays a key, catalytic role in both of these mechanisms and also appears to underlie the inner workings of Nature.
Date of Publication: Jan-Feb 2004