Being passive isn’t enough and it’s rare that those Aha! moments come from doing nothing.
In my opinion, the creative process is never quite the same for one person as it is for another. I don't even like using the word "process." Process makes it seem like there is a certain path that one takes when solving a problem. It's definitely helpful to have a jumping point but it never seems to work out the same way. There’s always a ton of trial and failure, and failure is one of the most underrated parts of problem solving.
There’s a famous quote by Pablo Picasso: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” Working through problems and failing time and time again is what helps bring new ideas and solutions to the forefront. Being passive isn’t enough and it’s rare that those Aha! moments come from doing nothing. I also find it imperative to take breaks and step away from one’s work every now and again. Working through problems when you seem to be stuck is a great thing.
One place I like to start when given a problem is brain dump every idea I have, even the terrible or obvious ones. It helps to get them out of my head and into a sketchbook, document, or wherever. This allows me to make room for more mind-expanding ideas and find new ways to solve the problem in a creative way.
What does your "process" look like? How does it change from project to project?
More inspiration (and additional reading):
Andrew Martis is a graphic designer and lover of letterforms. He's been to known to eat an entire pizza in one sitting and is constantly riding his bike in search of his next cup of coffee. He's the type of guy you'd want to like hang out with and bring home to mom because he's that rad.