The creative act has been traced to perspective and to diversity in both groups and ideas. An ability to empathize, to put oneself in another's place, is demiurgic. It binds whole cultures. Creative techniques would include modeling, abstraction and the simple observation that has escaped almost everyone else. In his new book, "Imagine," Jonah Lehrer writes that focus can be the enemy of originality. "Stop trying to harness your brain, and instead help your brain get out of its harness." In a state of relaxation and play the brain is more likely to have those "a ha!" moments.
The following definition of creativity originates from George Lois, one of the original "Mad Men," in a story at NPR. I had not heard this definition before and appreciated its directness.
The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything. And I really believe that. What I try to teach young people, or anybody in any creative field, is that every idea should seemingly be outrageous.