Ideas do not come from our brains, because thinking, properly speaking, does not come from our brains.
Thinking is grounded in acting. & acting is grounded in an environment. Our abilities to act in an environmental context emerge from our embodiment— the types of bodies we have & their unique capacities. Arms, legs, a vertical spine, opposable thumbs, wombs — both in their general & highly specific configurations/capacities.
But it is not our embodiment alone, our embodied actions are “of” an environment — an environment that has been shaping us as we have been shaping it (for a very very long time). This is what is termed “niche construction”: No living being passively adapts to an existing fixed environment. All creatures shape their environments — the beaver being a classic example. This is not a unidirectional action of simply making a home to fit one's needs. We “fit” because the environment is equally active & is shaping us such that over time it is proper to say that we are not simply in an environment by we are “of” this environment.
The loop between embodied acting, & the active environment goes down to the level of genes (of all involved). This primary “sense-making” is best seen as arising not from one or the other partner in this dance of mutual making but from the dance itself. The term for this is “enactive” — our world is being made by our actions while at the same time our selves are being made by our world.
We are continuously being lured, beckoned & drawn out by this dance. It is a beckoning that is neither in us nor outside us. What is beckoning us is what the dance allows us to do — what it affords us (an “us” that is a “self-environment dance”). Over time much of what emerges, if repeated, stabilizes into a form that persists in more robust ways: our bodies, our environment, our tools, our practices, etc.
Coming back to creative thinking, it, like all thinking, happens as/emerges from embodied acting & doing that is intimately coupled with/of an active environment. Our contemporary environment-selves are socio-physical — natural-cultural co-shaping extensions filled with transformative tools, & a vast social world of other people.
Novelty first emerges in a self-environment relation that momentarily reveals/congeals as odd. It is a worldly event. What is odd is emerging from what is also ordinary — something everyday is being co-opted in action towards a new heading (exaptation). Which can generate via attunement to what is luring us in a novel direction new environmental & embodied potentials (the creative process).
Ideas, those fully formed things, they come later. & those ideas that are the product of ideation sessions, well those are highly refined outcomes wholly reliant on pre-existing concepts (e.g. nothing novel), & are far removed from the locus of novelty: deeply engaged worldly collaborative attunement & experimentation…