I'd fight you on this :] Gloves off too!
Some of these definitions are dangerous to skirt around. It's hurting us when we talk to our clients. A good designer takes the lead and takes any client to a solid solution. Opening the definition of "creativity" to discussion is like inviting the devil over for tea and crumpets.
Design is not art.
- Art is expression of self.
- Design is making things work.
Creativity isn't hard to define.
Creativity the ability to come up with ways to solve challenges. Regardless of what your challenge is. You need creativity as a designer to solve problems in efficient ways. It means putting 1 and 2 together to reach 3. It's using your brain. Accessing as much of it as possible.
If we keep promoting this idea of "creativity is hard to define" or "hard to achieve", we're gonna keep being seen as those "arty-farty" designers that go all "blablabla" all the time.
Ground your ideas in knowledge. Ground it in rules. Not in the air. You're undermining yourself if you do.
You want to be creative? Get a good amount of rest. Eat healthy. Work out properly. Be fit, the physical helps the mental. Really, it's not rocket science. Simple performance rules for the human brain.
TIME. Spend TIME with a problem. If you've got a problem in the back of your head, you've got a bigger chance of running into solutions during your daily life. Anything can trigger inspiration. From a brick wall to a word uttered by a friend or an emotion experienced doing something you've done 100x before. Don't want to take this from "Dirk from the internet"? Fair enough! I wouldn't trust me either! Here's John Cleese from Monty Python talking about creativity instead!
A couple of other points mentioned:
Deadlines: If you're not 100% sure how you're going to solve an issue, give a deadlines that goes UP TO THAT POINT. Tell your client (or boss w/e) "I'll have an answer on [DATE]" or "I'll have [this] done by [DATE] and will tell you how long [this part 2] will take afterwards".
Creativity vs inspiration: Creativity allows you to take inspiration. Inspiration is taking a concept from one place, and implementing that elsewhere. Every idea is inspired by something. Creativity is the ability to take inspiration from [X] and implement it in a different context ([Y]).
Environment: I'd be weary of blaming your environment for not being able to be creative. I'd say it's YOU instead of your environment. Learn to adapt and be creative anywhere. Pick up anything to allow you to get into the right mindset. Meditation, listen to music, whatever. You CAN practice this and learn it. Refusing to do so creates an obstacle for yourself. This is just a recommendation. You can still opt not learn this and just find ways to avoid certain environments. Sounds like an imperfect solution to me.
Motivation/getting stuck: Like you said; switch. Alt+tab to a chat window. Listen to your music's lyrics for 2 seconds. Refresh your newsfeed. A simple word can trigger a new thought. Micro-distractions work as well as going for a run.
Mood: Just like you need to learn to leave you work at work when you leave work (lol) you need to learn to leave your private life/feelings at home. Of course don't stop being a human being, but switching into work-mode is a thing. Little disclaimer here: this doesn't mean you should ignore when you feel like crap. In fact, you need to do the opposite because the more crap you feel on your own time, higher the chance of it carrying over into work. So solve your issues before you get in to work.
Learning creativity: You can practice creativity. It's just about using your brain. Sure people have limits. Simply because, once again, 1 + 2 makes 3... but if you don't know about 1 or 2, you can't add them up. So intelligence helps to remember more patterns/things/thoughts/etc.
You did come to some of these conclusions within the podcast though!
There. Done brain-dumping. Hope this didn't come across too crass :]
Thanks for talking about this topic! Made me think about things, and word them properly. I'm sure this'll be useful for me in a different discussion at some point ;)
Keep at it, podcast was a great listen, and stay awesome!