- Gather raw material for your mind: Collect general knowledge from all interests. Collect specific knowledge on your company, customer, product, or problem all in one place.
- Mental Digestion: Think hard about your source materials; connect data points where possible, then write ideas until you're mentally burned out.
- Sleep and Be Merry: Stop thinking about the subject entirely, spend time leisurely, do what you most enjoy, then get a good nights' sleep.
- The idea cometh from out of the blue: After enough rest, the idea will strike you in a moment of clarity.
- Judgment: Bring ideas to your most critical friends to break, expand, and refine it, making it worthy of execution.
Different parts of this strategy are employed by world's favorite Mad Men:
- Peggy Olson, Copywriter: Uses products, writes 100+ copy variants, gets drunk, passes out, awakens with ideas.
- Stan Rizzo, Art Director: Takes drugs, meets new people, jokes about products, naps, awakens with ideas.
- Don Draper, Creative Director: Experiences world, writes every idea he imagines, gets pitched, and refines thoughts into advertising gold.
"… just think about it. Deeply. Then forget it. And an idea will jump up in your face."
Or, list all your problems, skills, and desires, combine them with 100+ business ideas, and you'll have 10,000 new ideas!