Scientists have for some time, been looking at neurons in the brain that they call Mirror Neurons.
It appears that simply put, these neurons learn from vicarious experience (watching, hearing) and not by doing. Now in all honesty, scientists have sufficient evidence that these neurons work this way in primates, but are not quite sure that they work this way in humans. However, there is a good bit of solid research going on that seems to confirm this theory.
If we follow this logic, then one of the ways in which we can trigger creative thinking is by watching creativity at work. The problem is, of course, that we can only watch the output of creativity, and not what the brain is actually doing up there in that maze of neurons. But, since we can learn to dance quicker and better by watching dancers, we can also become more creative by watching the output of creative people.
Creativity happens in all sorts of ways. Sometimes watching other people, sometimes working with others, and sometimes just off by ourselves. It is clear that we don’t need others to be creative, some of our most creative people need to be by themselves to create. Think about the recluse J.D. Salinger who just passed away. But it seems clear that if you need to jump start creativity, fire up those mirror neurons by surrounding yourself with creative people.