It has taken me quite a bit of time to put my thoughts on this one together, because it is an extremely difficult area to treat. What do we mean to be creative?
I hold reality to be infinite, and hence incomprehensible to mankind - man or women of any kind - given the finiteness of our senses. We have difficulty already with what we can see - this is why the early Europeans made such a big deal about their "discovery" of the "new" world. The world is always there, but their discovery belated (and some would wish never). We have already made some discovery peering into the dark skies or deep into inner spaces. Some may even have claimed perception of another world, in another mind or mind-frame. So, in this sense, creating is nothing but the "discovery" of that which is already there in the first place but which our senses have not been able to reach before (to paraphrase an old beer advertisement). So, in this sense, being creative is to be there first, and return to tell the tale. (Unable to return and tell a good story sends one to the madhouse.)
Being creative, therefore, means to have seen another world or another aspect of the world and to be able to describe the "new" world in such a way that human beings can find applications to remove yet another level of uncertainty of life on earth.
For creativity, therefore, I give high marks for the "creation of the world" stories which are probably reflective of the height of human imagination, reflecting the most intense of human anguish. The myths, the religious as well as the so-called scientific, the latter being extremely hard to provide the evidence as well, or to prove or to show concrete results. All "creation" stories and theories are based on faith, religious or scientific.
The importance of stories or theories is that they provide a tentative basis for explaining why certain things happen in a certain way or not in a certain way. They help us to understand ourselves and the world around us, and life as we know it to be.
I am sure all of us are brought up on one set of stories, and by the time we die, we would probably have created our own little stories or amendments to the traditional stories for retelling to our grandchildren (by then, our children would have their own competing stories to tell). Traditions (folk, religious or historical) can have a significant influence on creativity by weighing it down, but for the imaginative, it may provide a fallback for some ways to take flights of fancy.
There are but three ways of trying to be creative. The first is to see a table with an optimal number of four legs, figure whether it can stand on three (which we know it can) or two (which we do not know). The second is to see a table and a chair and try to figure out whether there is a furniture that lies between a table and a chair (you figure it out). The third way is to "dream of things that are not and ask why not?" as per George Bernard Shaw. The third way of course is open-ended, as varied and as far as the mind can go.
If mind is the constraint, then how do we think when we want to get creative? (I believe we are back to square one as far as this post is concerned.)
There is an infinite number of layers of existence right before our eyes, our noses, our ears, our fingers, our being.
I am sure many of us have experienced all kinds of weird stuff in our dreams, and are unable to explain, recall or use, so we simply dismiss them.
It is unfortunate that the stuff which we all acknowledge to be creative are only those stuff which strikes a cord in the heart of every person (and hence comes down as stories or myths) or which could be made into useful products (and hence comes down as stories or urban legends). The genius is the person whom we salute as whom we are not.
If therefore we were to put aside the commercial aspect of life, then I would there to venture that most of us are creative in our way of living, venturing into all avenues which we are not able or unwilling to disclose to the rest of the world, our own secretive world of great intimate knowledge and great intimate feelings and emotions as we explore our own little world to our own little self. This must have been how all the great religious ones felt when they felt inspired by the divine and expressed those emotions in terms which the ordinary people even today tend to hold to ridicule.
The way to be creative therefore is to unrestrained which means also not to seek public approval which means also to be an introvert. So, by definition, the creative world is understated. The only lament that economic and industrial leaders have over creativity is over commercialisable creativity - this lament is more a reflection of greed rather than of conceit.
Be there, and there will be creativity.