I read this post by Seth Godin and it is a really interesting and different way of looking at the creative process.
Seth describes creativity as something that is done on the edges of a comfort zone. The real interesting part of it though is that a comfort zone is very personal and individual thing – nobody can have experience in everything in this world, so for every one of us we have our areas of comfort where we have a lot of experience and knowledge and huge space of unknown around it. Which means that what I consider extremely creative may be extremely boring “more of the same” stuff for someone else, and vice versa. I am a Java application person professionally so when people around me talk about embedded programming it seems very fresh and strange and exciting – and it probably is the same way the other way around.
The practical advice out of this is that it is important to try to expand your comfort zone beyond what is considered “standard” for your job description. If you are a J2EE person try to learn some Groovy. Or Lisp. Or automatic tests. Or whatever else. You may not become world’s leading expert on X, but that’s is not the goal anyway. You can become a relative expert, “Best Y and X” person, and that is extremely valuable. At the very least it will get you some insights and ideas which will help you become more creative in your field.