In reviewing through the various creative thinking and innovative thinking methods, I think we can broadly classify them into two main categories "By Chance" or "by Design".
The blockages to our creative thinking mind are typically our acquired experience which traps us into fixation, prejudices, presumptions, biased and blind-spots. Most believe that by relaxing our mind and allowing our mind to wonder and wander around we could get new ideas. The key is then to produce the relaxing and stress free atmosphere. Hence, the typical brain storming or strategy planning sessions are conducted outside the office at holiday resorts. Letting the mind wonder freely to get new ideas is classified as "by chance" method.
There are improvements to "by chance" methods -- such as the using of random words to trigger the mind to explore further. Some artists practice throwing paints, breaking things, and letting the law of probability works to create new association and the new ideas.
Some Creative Gurus have spent the extra effort to create specific list of words with respect to the particular subject of investigation to direct the flows of ideas. This has achieve two purposes - triggering new ideas and ensuring the new ideas are more applicable to the subject of study.
I am more for "By Design and Directed- Innovative Thinking" especially directed at breaking through our thinking fixations, blind spots and inertia.
A simple method is to list down our assumptions in our thinking and decision making process and then questioning the assumptions. A more advance method, yet still easy to follow, is BVITS Business Value Innovative Thinking Symbols - a method developed by me from studying the key features of many creative thinking methods like Structured Problem Solving, Triz and its derivatives, Blue Ocean Strategy, Axiomatic Designs, and many many others.
Directed Thinking ensures comprehensive exploration of ideas in the close-to optima spaces, facing up the contradictions and breaking free from the contradictions. It is just more effective.
The very Basic of BVITS thinking method has been computerized so that it can be used to generate ideas quickly. Try it out by go to BVITS Overview and download Axon Idea Processor and the BVITS Ideas Generator written with Axon. Give me your comments.