“Direction I: Furnish yourselves with a rich variety of ideas; acquaint yourselves with things ancient and modern; things natural, civil, and religious; things domestic and national; things of your native land, and of foreign countries; things present, past, and future; and above all, be well acquainted with God and yourselves;” Logic: The Right Use of Reason in the Inquiry after Truth – Isaac Watts, Page 69.
To be successful with any idea is to have lots of ideas. One word of caution; If you out of blue experience an idea that no one seems to have thought of, you need to find out why first. It could be because someone smarter than you saw problems or potential roadblocks for that specific idea.
When in doubt, always perform through research on your ideas if you are planning on using them to design or build something and thereby to avoid potential roadblocks down the road.
The list below is by no means a comprehensive methodology for generating ideas, but I think it is a good start and as you use the tools and methods suggested you will most likely come up with your own.
How to Generate Ideas
1.Try to find an idea by searching the archives of the forum you are interested in(e.g., history, theology, etc.)
2. Try to find an idea by searching the Web.
3. Try to find an idea by reading a book on the subject.
4. Try to find an idea by reading a FAQ on the subject.
5. Try to find an idea by inspection or experimentation on existing ideas. to see if new ones can be abstracted.
6. Try to find an idea by asking a skilled friend in the area of interest.