10 tactics I use to generate ideas (for notepd)
1. Write down the 'easy' stuff
With every idea list, there are some immediate ones that come to mind. Write them all down.
2. Wear a different hat
A technique I stole from Scott Adams and how to think about situations (and maybe he stole it from Edward de Bono) is to wear a different hat. How would an artist think about this? How would an engineer? A physicist? A naturalist? Sometimes holding a different perspective (i.e., wearing a different hat) can help you generate ideas.
3. Be evil
Completely counter to Google's motto, be evil. Morally, sometimes we are held back in what we can or should do. It's just an idea and it doesn't say anything about you (though if you feel bad about publicly sharing it, you can tweak it so that it's morally good)
4. Jump to analogous ideas
Trying to find ideas to improve your happiness? Think about how dogs or cats might find happiness.
5. The Croesus Strategy
What ideas do you have if you had a ton of money? Croesus was a King who was known for his wealth.
Find 'inverted' ideas. Instead of finding ways to be happy, find ways to not be sad.
7. Read books
Just a quick flip through some pages sometimes gives you ideas to work with.
8. Sleep on it
When you feel like you're at your limit and can't come up with more ideas, take a break or a nap. Then come back to it. Your subconscious will be working on the problem.
9. Come up with bad ideas
Lower your standard. Don't turn away all bad ideas.
10. Aim for more than what you need
Aim for 10 ideas, you'll start to feel stuck at 7 or 8 ideas. Aim for 20 ideas and well, you'll blow past the 10 you need.