One of the greatest classes I took toward my Master's degree was a study of creativity. I was in my element! We took the Torrence Creativity Test, created games and learning centers for kids, and practiced creative problem solving techniques.
One of my favorites is a strategy called "In What Ways Might We..." or IWWMW for short. We would be given a situation (such as a cat stuck in a tree) and asked "in what ways might we" get the cat down from the tree?
Standard answers include: call the fire department, coax the cat with treats, and get a ladder. But when you run out of the normal ideas, what do you do? You get creative! You might go purchase a cat suit and sing a love song to encourage the cat to jump into your arms. Or what about renting a hot air balloon to lower yourself close enough to grab the cat. Of course neither of these are logical or the most efficient - but they encourage you to think outside the box.
Kids are great at the IWWMW game. As adults, we tend to shy away from the "silly" answers. Today I'm working on a fiction story that takes place in a fantasy world. I have a problem to solve, so I'm using this strategy to find a creative solution. You could use this method, too.
In What Ways Might We...
...get our kids to eat their vegetables?
...pay our credit card bills?
...exercise and enjoy it?!?
...make a decedent dessert for Valentines Day?
...remember to take our daily meds? (That one's for me.)
So, refill that coffee bowl, and get thinking!