Every now and then, a creative act comes out of nowhere, a giant leap, a new way of thinking apparently woven out of a brand new material.
Most of the the time, though, creativity is the act of reassembling many elements that are already known. That's why domain knowledge is so critical.
It's not enough to be aware of the domain you're working in, you need to understand it. Noticing things and being curious about how they work is the single most common trait I see in creative people. Once you can break the components down, you can put them back together into something brand new.
More times than I can recall I set out to reinvent the proverbial wheel without considering all the elements and there interconnection.