Most people think they are stealing someone elses idea, in reality you are taking an idea and applying it to a unique situation. That not stealing. Stealing is taking an idea and not changing a single element of it and calling it your own.
Here are some tricks that I use to get ideas.
Trick #1 - The TV Show
I watch a fair amount of television, it's my business, I have too. Shows will always generate ideas of what to do and what not to do. My current favorite is "The Pitch" on AMC. This show pits two ad agencies against each other. They listen to the client, come up with a clever idea and then present to the client. They actually show the creative process and it is easy to participate with them.
Trick #2 - The Board Games
Most good ideas start and end with a tag line. A good tag line draws people to your idea and encourages them to think differently. My business tagline is "moving images that move people". It's wordy but I have stuck with it because it has double meaning. I like to play Scategories. My family hates to play with me. It's a game where you take words and twist and turn them and then try to convince everyone else that it makes sense. Try it if you are stuck in the creative process. It will shake those ideas loose.
Trick #3 - The Idea File
Where is your idea file? Mine is everywhere and nowhere. I will bookmark websites that I like. I will download videos that spark me imagination. I rip ads out of magazines on the plane. I write stuff down that is really good. I re-tweet clever sayings. I save emails in a special file. I text ideas to myself at the stoplight.
Trick #4 - The Brainstorming Session
Need an idea quickly? Try brainstorming. It's pretty simple. Get anyone that is game, put them in a room. Tell them what you are trying to accomplish, tell them what problem you are trying to solve. Then just start cultivating ideas. The main rule for brainstorming, "There are no bad ideas". An idea may not work for your issue but it might lead you to one that will.
Trick #5 - Sleep On It
So many times I know I need an idea and I need it now but my best ideas come when I have slept on it. It gives your mind time to stew on it, to let a crazy idea make sense, to let information gel together.
Let me know if this works for you or if you have a favorite way to get ideas flowing.