Thinking patterns that help create new ideas.

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* Explore new ideas and learn to become flexible in your thinking.
* Practice visualization -- learn how to create concept maps, illustrative schema, and sketch ideas out.
* Explore other fields looking for new theories and ideas that can be synthesized and adapted.
* Keep a record of your explorations. Keep an "Idea Journal"
* Learn to think in possibilities -- diverge, be expansive in your thinking. Generate lots of ideas, then refine them.
* Practice trying to look at things holistically and try to get the big picture.
* Learn to focus in on parts of a problem, then come back out to the big picture.
* Don't get in a rut. Force yourself to try new things. Experiment with new strategies and play with ideas imaginatively.
* Think of yourself as an "idea artist" or an "idea vendor."
* Combine ideas. Let ideas and thoughts ferment and percolate, "sleep on it", and then revisit the the issue or problem.
* Take time to imagine new ideas and possibilities. Practice daydreaming and visionizing.
* Look for ideas and inspiration in ordinary places. Scan books, magazines, articles, advertisements & photos for new ideas.
* Ask family members, friends, co-workers and even strangers for a fresh perspectives.
* Brainstorm and free associate frequently.
* Free yourself from "functional fixity" or restrictively thinking of something only in one way. Creative thinking is often blocked by not being able to think about items in new contexts or new ways.
* Divest yourself of "cultural or gender mindsets" that may limit your thinking.
* Examine your thinking for barriers like "toxic nostalgia" -- letting grandiose or overly romanticized visions of the past block new ideas.