Wisdom I think is a means of being able to discern something; to be able to judge correctly between two or more things. Intuitive wisdom is higher than learned wisdom.
I don't disagree with you that we do have this method of thinking. I think that generally it works. Though 'I dont call this knowledge. Its only knowledge in a closed sense. By this I mean its learning what others learned (pioneers mostly) but not how they learned it. Most students are awash with concepts and words and just this. THey know the name of something, but dont necessarily know what that something IS.
Its ironic that in this mode of thinking in schools grows a developmental body of knowledge. But it isnt so much the jumps that cause these as more gradual steps. The real jumps are made by a different method. Newton was a loner and a man who didnt like to socialize; he wasn't a nice man by any means. Einstein and others like Feynmann all hated any form of hierarchy; the establishment. There have also been remarkable steps elsewhere, notably by people who havent had any eductaion in the real sense, but have in effect taught themselves. I think that on one hand its the tension between skepticism and creativity that causes leaps in science in particular; and the arts. On the other hand, where some teach themselves, I think its just pure creativity. This is why, at the higher levels, science is more of an art.
I'm not arguing knowledge-undertsanding-wisdom doesnt work-clearly it does, but its steps are gradual and its this way of seeing things that restrict lateral thinking. If we moved away all sense perception what we would see is the infinite. Unlike wisdom, which operates through the senses and rationally, imagination can be wrong and it can be right, but, for any new thought or great music, etc., its this lateral thinking which allows what may have been closed avenues to the senses to be explored. In exactly the same way Einstein formed the general theory of relativity in a way which even baffles scientists now as to how he could possibly even conceive it; its these thoughts that touch on this imagination that spark things. Its the same thought we get in sport when we just think ahhh lets try this-and pull of some wicked skill. The creativity is first, then perhaps some wisdom to see if its rational.
We cant get away from normal western thinking and its imperative because it pushes us up to edge of where we are. Once this is recognised, then, instead of learning what our teachers in schools, books, tv, etc teach us, we should instead seek what they sought.
As an update, wikipedia define wisdom as:
Wisdom is the ability, developed through experience, insight and reflection, to discern truth and exercise good judgment.
This is the problem; wisdom is looking over the sholder rather than facing forward.
So: quick update:
Method 1: knowledge; understanding; wisdom
Method 2: Creativity/imagination; (wisdom); understanding; knowledge.
We could play around all day with more methods for particular instances; I'm focusing on the extremes.
"There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns." Edward De Bono
"To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle requires a creative imagination and marks the real advances in science." Albert Einstein
wisdom is important though:
"We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future." George Bernard Shaw
I dont quite know how this relates to the first post though