For the most creative solutions you need to get your mind looking in new directions. One of the most systematic ways to do this, is with a list of words, primarily adjectives, to create “what if?” scenarios. The process starts with the question, “what if it was…” and then you insert a word from the list. “It” in the question is the problem you’re working on, or the current solution or situation.
Let’s explain the process with an example or two.
Example one: You have is an unpleasant co-worker. You aren’t sure how to deal with him, so you ask about the problem, “What if it was…” and insert from the list “smaller.” How could you make the problem smaller? Spend less time with that person? Get reassigned?
“What if it was… fun?” makes you wonder if being annoying yourself might keep the other person away from you. “Closer” makes you wonder if this person might be nicer to you if they knew you better. You continue down the list and work with each word a bit to get new ideas, which you will look at more analytically later.