Tony Schwartz, over at the HBR Blog Network, outlines the stages of creative thinking. At the beginning of the process is saturation:
Once the problem or creative challenge has been defined, the next stage of creativity is a left hemisphere activity that paradoxically requires absorbing one's self in what's already known. Any creative breakthrough inevitably rests on the shoulders of all that came before it.
And inspiration, on which creativity depends (see “Why Inspiration Matters,” also available at the HBR Blog Network), depends on the availability of and access to an archive of knowledge.
I recently published an essay in which I introduced the Archival Cycle. This model can be used to represent the past, present, and future situation of librarian and arhcives within the iterative lifecyle of information—the process of creation, distribution, reception, storage, and preservation that supports the discovery, creatoin, and sharing of knowledgge. We recently created a sign for our library that represents this cycle of use:
But this cycle of use depends on the Archival Cycle, which reperesents the infrastructure that faciliatates inspiration and innovation.