First off, let's talk about what it means to be "creative". It means a lot of different things to different people. For me, there are three essential part to creativity. The first is simple CREATION, the making of stuff, things, videos, music, objects. It can be a paper airplane a Cathedral or a Sonnet. The Second part is making something DIFFERENT (or novel), people are often described as being "creative" because they have a different way of looking at things. Just because something is DIFFERENT doesn't mean it's is GOOD (or useful) which leads to the last point. Being creative for work means that the new thing or idea must also be USEFUL. Now not all creativity has to be useful, personally I believe that any creative act is inherently useful (although maybe not purposeful).
But at the same time, I have found that you can't force creativity. Well at least not by itself you need this sacred beast called "inspiration". Ancients waited for muses to deliver it, the word itself relates to being breathed on by the gods. Well technically breathed IN by the gods (that first breath that gave us life) . But you see how if you let "inspiration" run your life, you can digress and digress down a rabbit hole and really be satisfied with yourself and not get anything done.
If you wait around for inspiration you will get it, eventually, but it probably won't relate to anything useful. You might come up with a brilliant idea for a churro, or a blog about shoes, but that sort of inspiration is a fickle beast, capricious in both it's timing and it's intentions. So while I think my best ideas have come from "inspiration" I have learned that I need to discipline that process a little bit. Sure you need to wander and meander and "be inspired" but I have kind of come up with and informal 5 step process that works as midwife for inspiration (move over Socrates). Most of the stuff you see here is wanderings and musings, but not really purposeful creativity, problem solving, message-carrying, lesson-teaching, story-telling creativity. Whenever I have a creative problem to tackle I find that when I am successful I have used some form of this process to come up with a (brilliant) solution. Rather than tease you further here it is:
Genius and inspiration can strike anywhere, but lightning is more likely to strike a tall metal object. For me this process is about stretching that rod higher and higher.
What process do you use?