A few years ago, when leading a Creative Thinking Program for a corporate client, I developed the AIIM Solution Finding Process to make it accessible, and to help them move onto the nonlinear nature of the creative process (when it is solution-focused, like in work settings) and still have a sequence to follow for those who like to engage more sequentially. I had been studying different models and approaches at the time and narrowed in on the same main patterns I saw showing up in each one, in addition thinking about the patterns I was seeing in the real-life experiences me and my clients were having with applied creativity in the workplace. I think these elements speak to the way nature creates: linearly and non-linearly, expanding and contracting, adapting and refining...
"The Map is not the Territory" - Alfred Korsybski
The AIIM process is a map, but it is not the entire territory. You can use AIIM in a creative process like you would use a map. If you go want to a new place, you have several choices. Typically, when you are first getting to know the terrain, you get a map and follow directions.
Once you get comfortable with the terrain, however, then you start exploring more and may not need directions as much or at all. You may discover new ways of getting around by simply exploring and finding out what leads where and which routes are best for your purposes.
Therefore, like a map which involves whole brain thinking, the AIIM Model is more than a step-by-step process to be followed in a sequential order. Each of the of the stages of the AIIM process, and each step within each stage can be, and should be, used as called for by the particular situation. The map is a guide, but it is flexible - and not complete as no mapped process can be.
In a creative process you go back and forth between analysis and imagination and between big picture and detail thinking; and you check for relevance and modify in each stage also. Like traveling around in any city, there are many ways that work and not just one right answer. You begin the process and modify along the way as external conditions change. Therefore, any creativity map or process must have flexibility for modification built into it. New ideas, insights and connections emerge that requires nonlinear navigating in real time.
To use the AIIM process in a sequential manner, you would typically start with analysis then bring in the imagination, then go back and forth between those two until you are ready to implement the solution or vision. After the solution is implemented, you continue modify in real time as you get more information and observe what is working and what is not.
Also have a Creative Emergence Process I charted for the book I am working on that looks a bit different - will post another time.