Here is the Lather, Rinse, Repeat approach to coming up with ideas…
Amp yourself up and get psyched for a brainstorm session on your topic. Devour books, articles, websites, movies, magazines, YouTube videos, etc. on whatever topic you plan to ideate on. Then, armed with your favorite caffeinated beverage, set a timer for 15-30 minutes and rush to wring every single concept from your mind on the subject. Do a complete creative purge of every idea in your brain. Act with a frenzied passion to scribble down a massive amount of ideas before the timer runs out. Work as though your life depended on it. Basically, work yourself into a Lather.
Once the timer goes off — come to a complete a full stop.
Quit. Don’t think about it anymore.
Now go away and do something completely unrelated for 30-40 minutes. Set the alarm on your phone and Rinse away all thought of the previous topic and session by washing away the frenzy with unrelated activity:
- Listen to music
- Go for a walk
- Watch a movie
- Go read internet memes
- Draw some cartoons
- Read some silly Tweets
When the alarm goes off, it’s time to Repeat the original effort of doing a mad scrabble to capture every idea you can on the original topic — only this time without the benefit of immersing yourself in on-topic research. Now you’re working against the clock to generate ideas on the original topic based upon wherever your mind takes you after your “rinse cycle”.
Now is the time for ideas based on metaphor and those concepts that come out of left field (because you might have been actually been playing left field in a game of dodge-ball!) Work with the same fervor you did in the original session, work with the same deadline of writing down as many ideas as you can within a fixed time frame — but now your ideas will be fueled by different context, and that means you will come up with different creative solutions.