Light Therapy & the Five Steps of the Creative Process
December 16, 2020
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The creative process has traditionally been broken down into the following five stages: preparation, incubation, insight, evaluation, and elaboration. These terms themselves likely won’t do much for your creative spirit, but below, we’ve broken each down to help you understand and relate to them more easily.
Preparation sounds a bit like you’re studying for an excruciating exam you’ve got to take in the morning, but this feel-good phase is where your best ideas are born.
Think of it as if you’re taking an exciting journey into the creative space that appeals most to you. In today’s modern world, that might look like exploring a specific hashtag like — #lighttherapy, #redlight, #redlighttherapuy, etc. It could also look like deep-diving into autobiographies of artists who inspire you, perusing artist websites and their virtual galleries, watching documentary films on the topic, listening to music, reading through poetry, or as I do, just watching my surroundings.
In some cases, how you “prepare” may not be directly related to your specific medium. Can be from the coffee you are taking to the peer you are speaking to. Wherever this stage takes you, commit to it wholly and truly relish in it. Take notes. Observe what (and how) these other entities have created, lay down ideas as they come to you, colors that inspire you, sounds that move you, and words that catch you by surprise.
Now is the time to let all that information and inspiration you just breathed in soak into your very core. In this stage, it may not even feel like you’re really doing anything since it’s your subconscious that’s actually doing all the work. In that sense, you can liken this step of the creative process to allowing a piece of steak to marinate overnight in a juicy bath of flavors. The meat is just sitting there to the naked eye, but a delicious transformation occurs, in reality occurs.
We alluded to a lightbulb flickering on in the previous stage, sending a person into a full-fledged creative frenzy they couldn’t possibly suppress. This moment is traditionally referred to as the “insight” stage of the creative process, or what some have playfully dubbed the “Eureka” moment.
This is the step we’re arguably most all familiar with, and the one we wrongfully assume is a stepping one. Perhaps this incorrect assumption causes many to conclude that you must be an inherently gifted creative person ever to experience such a moment. As you now know, the reality is that it might have taken days, weeks, months, or even years for such inspiration to hit. This is true even of the greatest artists our world has seen.
Another false assumption is that this Eureka moment is always loud and gut-punching powerful. While it does sometimes hit as an unmistakable spark of inspiration-born direction, it is important to note that sometimes the insight moment is more of a quiet, contemplative whisper. It also might not happen quite as cinematically as we’d like to think. Many even say that such inspiration strikes or develops when they least expect it — while making dinner, having a conversation with a friend, or in the middle of folding a giant load of laundry. The argument is that doing something that doesn’t require much brainpower gives your subconscious some time to churn.
The creative process would be remiss without acknowledging that not every creative idea is a great (or even good) idea worth pursuing. This is the phase where you really dig deep — as tricky and painful as it might be to your ego — and ask yourself if this is an idea that’s ultimately worth working on.
Instead of framing it as a potential way to squash your hopes and dreams, consider it an opportunity to put your idea to the ultimate test. Does it hold up against a flood of critical thinking, honest questions, and in some cases, the scrutiny of your peers?
Once your project idea has passed the scrutiny test, it’s finally time to “elaborate.” It’s officially time to put pen to paper, ink to canvas, and clay to the wheel in easier-to-understand terminology. This is the phase where you’re actively creating something and bringing your idea to life.
For many, this final step of the creative process can take just as long as all the other four put together (or even longer). It typically involves many hours of brainstorming the best approach and experimenting to figure out what works and what doesn’t. You might nail it on the first try (and some really do!), but what’s more likely to happen is that you create something, dislike it, and either rewind a bit or start completely from scratch. You might do this over and over again until it’s perfect in your eyes. Real sweat, real tears, and real joy are bred during this step of the creative process. Embrace it.
Brain waves are oscillating electrical voltages in the brain, measuring just a few millionths of a volt. At the root of all our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are the communication between neurons within our brains. Brainwaves are produced by synchronized electrical pulses from masses of neurons communicating with each other.
Brainwaves are detected using sensors placed on the scalp. They are divided into bandwidths to describe their functions but are the best thought of as a continuous spectrum of consciousness, from slow, loud, and functional — to fast, subtle, and complex.
It is a handy analogy to think of brainwaves as musical notes — the low-frequency waves are like a deeply penetrating drum beat, while the higher frequency brainwaves are more like a subtle high pitched flute. Like a symphony, the higher and lower frequencies link and cohere with each other through harmonics.
Our brainwaves change according to what we’re doing and feeling. When slower brainwaves are dominant, we can feel tired, slow, sluggish, or dreamy. The higher frequencies are dominant when we feel wired or hyper-alert.
The descriptions that follow are only broad descriptions — in practice, things are far more complex, and brainwaves reflect different aspects of different locations in the brain.
Brainwave speed is measured in Hertz (cycles per second), and they are divided into bands delineating slow, moderate, and fast waves.
Infra-Low brainwaves (also known as Slow Cortical Potentials) are thought to be the basic cortical rhythms that underlie our higher brain functions. Very little is known about infra-low brainwaves. Their slow nature makes them difficult to detect and accurately measure, so few studies have been done. They appear to play a major role in brain timing and network function.
Delta (δ) Waves (0.5 TO 4HZ) — Sleep
Delta brainwaves are slow, loud brainwaves (low frequency and deeply penetrating, like a drumbeat). They are generated in deepest meditation and dreamless sleep. Delta waves suspend external awareness and are the source of empathy. Healing and regeneration are stimulated in this state, and that is why deep restorative sleep is so essential to the healing process.
Theta brainwaves occur most often in sleep but are also dominant in deep meditation. Theta is our gateway to learning, memory, and intuition. In theta, our senses are withdrawn from the external world and focused on signals originating from within. Twilight states that we normally only experience fleetingly as we wake or drift off to sleep. In theta, we dream; vivid imagery, intuition, and information beyond our normal conscious awareness. It’s where we hold our ‘stuff,’ our fears, troubled history, and nightmares.
Alpha (α) Waves(8 TO 12 HZ) — Very relaxed, Passive Attention
Alpha brainwaves are dominant during quietly flowing thoughts and in some meditative states. Alpha is ‘the power of now,’ being here, in the present. Alpha is the resting state of the brain. Alpha waves aid overall mental coordination, calmness, alertness, mind/body integration, and learning.
Beta brainwaves dominate our normal waking state of consciousness when attention is directed towards cognitive tasks and the outside world. Beta is a ‘fast’ activity, present when alert, attentive, engaged in problem-solving, judgment, decision making, or focused mental activity.
Beta brainwaves are further divided into three bands; Lo-Beta (Beta1, 12–15Hz) can be thought of as a ‘fast idle’ or musing. Beta (Beta2, 15–22Hz) is the high engagement or actively figuring something out. Hi-Beta (Beta3, 22–38Hz) is a highly complex thought, integrating new experiences, high anxiety, or excitement. Continual high-frequency processing is not a very efficient way to run the brain, as it takes a tremendous amount of energy.
Gamma (γ) Waves(35 TO 42 HZ) — Concentration
Gamma brainwaves are the fastest brain waves (high frequency, like a flute) and relate to the simultaneous processing of information from different brain areas. Gamma brainwaves pass information rapidly and quietly. The most subtle of the brainwave frequencies, the mind has to be quiet to access gamma.
Gamma was dismissed as ‘spare brain noise’ until researchers discovered it was highly active in states of universal love, altruism, and the ‘higher virtues.’ Gamma is also above the frequency of neuronal firing, so how it is generated remains a mystery. It is speculated that gamma rhythms modulate perception and consciousness and that a greater presence of gamma relates to expanded consciousness and spiritual emergence.
New Trial to Test Brain Wave Stimulation as Alzheimer’s Preventative
With a new $1.8 million grant from the Part the Cloud-Gates Partnership Grant Program of the Alzheimer’s Association, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts General Hospital are launching a new clinical trial to test whether stimulating a key frequency of brain waves with light and sound can prevent the advance of Alzheimer’s disease pathology even before volunteers experience symptoms such as memory impairment.
“Because Alzheimer’s disease leads to neurodegeneration and cognitive decline, the best time for intervention may be before those symptoms even begin,” said Dr. Li-Huei Tsai, Picower Professor of Neuroscience and director of The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT. “We are hopeful that our safe, non-invasive approach of sensory stimulation of 40Hz gamma brain rhythms can have a preventative benefit for patients. We are very grateful to Part the Cloud-Gates Partnership Grant Program for their support in funding rigorous research to test this exciting possibility.”
In extensive testing in Tsai’s lab with multiple mouse models of Alzheimer’s, the light and sound stimulation technique, called Gamma ENtrainment Using Sensory Stimuli (GENUS), improved cognition and memory, prevented neurodegeneration, and reduced amyloid and tau protein buildups. The research showed that increasing 40Hz brain rhythm power and synchrony stimulated the brain’s immune cells and blood vessels to clear out the toxic proteins. Early results from human testing at MIT show that GENUS is well tolerated and increases 40Hz power and synchrony, just like in the mice.
The new study, conducted in collaboration with neurologist Dr. Keith Johnson at MGH, will enroll 50 volunteers aged 55 or older who show signs of amyloid protein plaque buildup in PET scans but remain cognitively normal. Experimental volunteers will receive an hour of GENUS light and sound stimulation in their homes daily for a year. At regular checkups, the team will monitor GENUS's effect on amyloid buildup via PET scans as well as other biomarkers such as tau and for changes in cognition, sleep, structural and functional MRI, and other indicators of brain function and health.
The trial will be double-blinded, randomized, and controlled, meaning that some volunteers will be exposed to non-GENUS light and sound during the trial to provide a non-treatment comparison group. To ensure that bias does not influence the results, neither the volunteers nor the experimenters will know which group's volunteers are.
Life without light is darkness. Light plays a vital role in our healthy life. Now the light is expanding the business scope in business for LIGHT THERAPY.
Light therapy also known as phototherapy is a simplified process, where the skin is precisely exposed before a light-emitting source on a routine. This light resembles natural light which helps to stimulate cells in the affected section.
Light Therapy has a notable history. It started back in 1903, when Niels Ryberg Finsen, developed a device that produced synthesized light. He was also awarded Nobel Prize in Medicine for this discovery. Later in 1938, a hospital in Massachusetts performed effective testing on patients with colored lights.
Light therapy at the present considered as one of the standard of care for the treatment of various diseases by most of the healthcare professionals.
According to research, the global cosmetic products market is estimated to be valued at US$ 69 billion in the year 2025. One of the emerging business amongst the beauty and medical market is LIGHT THERAPY.
Light Therapy Market size was valued at USD 811.8 million in the year 2018 and is expected to witness a rise of 4.6% CAGR from 2019 to 2025.
Drivers for the growth
The reason behind the growth of the market is driven by factors like the increase in dermatological disorders such as acne vulgaris, psoriasis, wrinkles. Light therapy market includes the usage of various lights like red, blue, green in dermatological as well as medical, health, sports industry too. The application of light therapy is vast and wide, which makes the market more diverge. It gives different companies an opportunity to participate and explore the market.
Additionally the rising disposable income, growth of upper middle-class population and increasing awareness of beauty products.
Also, modern users are more inclined towards the non-invasive treatment. With favorable reimbursement scenario in and advancement in the product technology, the liking of the light therapy has increased.
The Handheld devices for skin treatment (HDST) category held over 16.5% revenue share in 2018 and is now estimated to grow significantly by 2025. There is a wide adoption of handheld devices in home-care settings since the handheld devices have the ability to avoid the cell disruptions during light therapy treatment.
Light Therapy Market, By Product
Handheld devices for skin treatment (HDST) segment held over 16.5% revenue share in 2018 and is projected to grow significantly by 2025. Ability of handheld devices to avoid cell disruption during light therapy device placement will upsurge its adoption in noninvasive interventions. Wide adoption of handheld devices in homecare settings will thus spur segment size.
Light visor segment is projected to witness robust CAGR of more than 4% over the forthcoming years. Adoption of portable lightening units such as light visors for effective patient management will accelerate segment growth over the coming years.
Light Therapy Market, By Application
Light therapy market is evolving day by day. In the past decade, there is a significant growth in this market. The wide range of applications in health, fitness, sports, beauty and medical field has increased the interest of buyers.
Sleeping disorder market segment was valued over USD 110 million in the year 2018 and is estimated to witness a similar trend during the upcoming years. The rising prevalence of sleep disorders such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), insomnia and jet lag and will uplift this segment growth. Additionally, the rising demand for light therapy for patients suffering from circadian rhythm will amplify the adoption of light therapy in the predictable future.
Another segmentation of application is the different forms where light therapy is being used like clinics, salons, home, hospitals etc. Dermatology clinics held more than 26% revenue share in 2018 as per a report. Also, the application at home is at soar. The end-users convenience is a major reason for the home-care setting application great market value which was around USD 495 million in 2018.
Light Therapy Market, By Light Type
Blue light segment accounted for more than 26% revenue share in 2018 and will exhibit substantial growth over the coming years. Extensive adoption of blue light in the treatment of sun damage as well as premalignant or malignant skin cancer should propel segment growth.
Red light segment is anticipated to witness around 4.5% CAGR over the forthcoming years. Wide application of red-light therapy in the treatment of orthopedic conditions such as joint pain, inflammation and arthritis will surge its adoption over the coming years.
Light Therapy Market, By End-use
Dermatology clinics held more than 26% revenue share in 2018 and will exhibit momentous growth over the forecast timeline. Rising incidence of skin disorders coupled with increasing demand for non-invasive procedures will foster segment growth during the forthcoming years.
Home-care settings segment was valued around USD 495 million in 2018 due to increasing patient preference towards home-care. Benefits offered by home-care settings such as quality treatment at affordable prices and reduced risk of dermatological clinics acquired infections will fuel the business growth.
Light Therapy Market, By Region
North America light therapy market will witness over 4% CAGR over the analysis timeline. Rising prevalence of skin disorders including eczema and skin cancer in North America is key factor driving light therapy business growth. Strong foothold of key industry players in the region will positively impact industry growth.
Asia Pacific light therapy market was valued more than USD 175 million revenue in 2018. Urbanization, changing lifestyle and increasing prevalence of depression and hypertension in the region will favor regional business growth. Increasing healthcare reforms in countries such as China will further drive Asia Pacific light therapy industry growth in the coming years.
An industrial designer develops the concepts for manufactured products, such as machines, medical devices, toys, electronics, and more. They combine art, business, and engineering to make products that people use every day. They work in offices in a variety of industries. Although they design manufactured products, only about 29% of industrial designers are employed directly by manufacturers.
An industrial designer will typically do the following:
Research who will use the product and the various ways it might be used
Sketch out ideas or create blueprints
Use computer software to develop virtual models of different designs
Examine materials and production costs to determine manufacturing requirements
Work with other specialists to evaluate whether their design concepts will fill the need at a reasonable cost
Evaluate product safety, appearance, and function to determine if a design is practical
Present designs and demonstrate prototypes to clients for approval
Industrial designers generally focus on a particular product category. For example, some design medical equipment, while others work on consumer electronics products. Other designers develop ideas for new bicycles, furniture, housewares, or snowboards. They imagine how consumers might use a product and test different designs with consumers to see how each design looks and works.
Industrial designers often work with engineers, production experts, and marketing specialists to find out if their designs are feasible and to apply their colleagues’ professional expertise to their designs. For example, industrial designers may work with marketing specialists to develop plans to market new product designs to consumers.
Each manufacturer shall establish and maintain procedures to ensure that design requirements relating to a device are appropriate and address the intended use of the device, including the needs of the user and patient. The procedures shall include a mechanism for addressing incomplete, ambiguous, or conflicting requirements. The design input requirements shall be documented and shall be reviewed and approved by a designated individual(s). The approval, including the date and signature of the individual(s) approving the requirements, shall be documented.
ISO 13485:2016 also covers this topic in section 7.3.3 Design and Development Inputs:
Inputs relating to product requirements shall be determined and records maintained. These inputs shall include:
a) functional, performance, and safety requirements, according to the intended use, b) applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, c) where applicable, information derived from previous similar designs, d) other requirements essential for design and development, and e) output(s) of risk management
These inputs shall be reviewed and approved.
Requirements shall be complete, unambiguous, and not in conflict with each other.
There are several terms used interchangeably when referring to design inputs:
Design input requirements
Design and development requirements
Medical device product development should be a holistic process that builds upon itself as the project progresses.
Rushing the product to the market isn’t a recommended best practice in medical device development. Spending time in design inputs will really benefit your project. In device development, establishing design inputs can easily take up to 20% of the entire project timeline.
Writing design inputs takes practice and dedication. Also, design inputs should not just be the responsibility of one person. It’s a team effort. When a team is involved, you get the benefit of everyone’s opinions and experience.
You also should consider all sorts of other sources to help you define design inputs:
It’s important to remember that user needs should be established first in order to inform design inputs. Your goals when defining design inputs include:
Capturing all functional, performance, safety, and regulatory requirements.
Build upon user needs and intended use.
Make sure design inputs are clear and objective.
State design inputs in a way that allows you to prove/disprove them.
You have to consider all types of sources and resources for design inputs. Your design inputs need to be comprehensive, covering all aspects of your medical device.
In his book The Sciences of the Artificial, Herbert Simon started what we now refer to as design thinking. Since then, numerous other works have been published detailing design thinking concepts and how it relates to all manner of different business models. One of the most famous icons to design thinking in the modern era is probably Apple, Inc. Let’s ask ourselves:
· Did you feel you needed an iPod before Apple created?
· Did you feel you needed an iPhone before Apple created it?
Apple’s genius during the early 2000s was not in creating new products that no one had ever heard of. There were dozens of cell phone manufacturers making quality cell phones before the iPhone landed. There were dozens of MP3 players on the market before the original iPod.
But, once Apple entered the arena, none of that mattered. Why? Because Apple understood the unarticulated needs (and in fact, you could even argue that Apple’s real genius was creating a need for a product by releasing that product!) of its customers. How were they able to do this?
How can we solve a problem for our customer in such a way that they don’t even know the problem exists until we show the solution?
The Five Phases of Design Thinking
Design thinking is a process of five distinct phases of execution. Those phases are:
Looking at that list, it seems to be a mix of skills from various disciplines. “Prototype” and “test” seem to be drawn from engineering and product development, whereas “empathize” and “ideate” come from a more psychological, social methodology.
Phase 1 — Empathize
Empathizing immediately sets design thinking apart from most of the other business models out there. True, most business models strive to understand their ideal client’s needs and wants, but few do it from a relational perspective. This is what Simon Sinek talks about in his book Start With Why: That people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. For Apple, that meant understanding the desire of their customers to be a part of something. They weren’t buying things because it was the best. They were buying it because of the reasons behind WHY Apple made it. When the corporate world was turning its back on customer relations and focused more on profits than on value, Apple communicated a different mission and mindset, which allowed their sales to skyrocket.
Phase 2 — Define (The Problem)
Another crucial part of design thinking. The problem. The majority of creators will fail at this part because they think about problems as nouns. Problems are verbs. If you see a little girl trying to get cookies from the shelf, people will start listing the problems as:
· She needs a cookie
· She needs an adult
· She needs a ladder
· Maybe she needs milk with those cookies
While the truth is, she needs to reach. Reaching is the problem, not the cookies. If you solve the reaching problem, you solve anything she will want to reach in the future. Once we understand others' unarticulated needs through authentically empathizing, it’s time to define the problem.
Phase 3 — Ideate
Ideation, the process of coming up with potential solutions to your customers’ unarticulated needs, can only occur after those needs have been identified through empathy and the problem defined. Do we solve the problem through a product, or a relationship, or a service? Is it through expanding our business model to include other forms of retail or consumer service? As an operations manager, the unarticulated needs that I wasn’t meeting for my fellow workers were found in the way I was focused on problems, not on them personally. I felt like, and if nothing was going wrong, there was nothing for me to do. What was going on underneath the surface, and what I was failing to do, was to spend time with them, to learn their processes to the point that I could spot potential problems before they actually became problems. Again, this human-centered approach must consider, above all else, the user's experience, whether customer, employee, or client.
Phase 4 — Prototype
Prototyping doesn’t necessarily have to involve models or scaled-down products. Prototyping also applies to non-physical solutions as well, in terms of how we construct frameworks to solve problems. Obviously, there are times when physical prototyping is important, but the overarching goal of prototyping is to apply solutions in a controlled environment to allow for testing, the fifth phase.
Phase 5 — Test
The final and simplest phase of design thinking. Since design thinking doesn’t flow like time in a strictly linear fashion between stages, there are times when prototyping leads back to ideation and when defining the problem actually requires more time spent empathizing to reassess the customer’s needs. Because of this frequently recursive nature, by the time we arrive at the design thinking process's final phase, sometimes testing merely confirms the last step in our solution. Other times, it can restart the entire process from the beginning. The importance of moving fluidly throughout all five phases.
Creativity is about doing, not thinking. Design thinking as well is about playing and acting. Those actions will swing between a process-oriented approach and a human-oriented approach depending on the project. At the end of it all, whether we are talking about coworkers or customers, the one thing they all have in common is that they are people looking for solutions to their problems. Solving the problem without addressing the people will only lead to frustration and failure. Providing a solutions-based approach to problems rather than a problems-based approach to problems will guarantee a greater chance of lasting implementation and effectiveness of whatever problem we’re solving.