Some interesting thoughts already. I come up with ideas in two steps:
1) Divergent thinking
2) Convergent thinking
Divergent thinking is where you come up with the ideas and include everything, however apparently impractical. Brainstorming is one way of doing this. This is where "lateral thinking" can come in.
Convergent thinking is where you decide which ideas you are going to look at, assess them and come up with possible implementations.
This is not that different from the Disney approach described earlier. The trick is to do both, separately, and to time-box or otherwise limit the Divergent step. Sometimes it is worth iterating, sometimes not. Iteration works well in the Convergent phase.
Doing the Divergent bit on your own can be difficult, because you (well, I anyway) tend to look at how to implement each "idea" too early, and I can get stuck in a rut of how I do something now. Ways of breaking out of this are to deliberately take some time away from where and how you normally work (the classic lock-yourself-in-a-room, or go somewhere different), work quickly and to introduce some external randomness into the process if you get stuck. I use Brian Eno's "Oblique Strategies" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oblique_Strategies
). I didn't buy the cards, simply wrote the phrases on the back of old business cards. Some examples of Oblique Strategies prompts are:
*) Try Faking it!
*) Honour your mistake as a hidden intention (that one is famous!)
*) How would someone else (maybe substitute a name) do it?
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