In this industry creativity is a much-revered talent. Not only that, but it must be almost instantaneous creativity, thanks to short lead times for proposals.
I have practiced and taught creativity for many years, but only recently have I discovered what for me is the best scenario for coming up with good ideas. It is not a gimmick but it does involve getting up from your desk and doing a little exercise.
Basically it is walking at a steady but not too strenuous a pace and it must be done for at least 30 minutes and not up an incline. Personally if I do this on a nice level walking trail, particularly away from traffic, I find that after about 20 to 30 minutes, my mind starts to de-clutter. At this point once I feel relaxed and able to move smoothly, I begin to think about a problem or proposal or whatever needs solving. I find that very quickly I will begin to develop related ideas that are creative, logical, and ultimately workable. I then continue to concentrate on this generation of ideas and try not to think about the physical walking or about my surroundings. In reality, this seems to be a form of hypnotism if one can call it that. By the end, if it has been a productive walk and lots of ideas have come forth. I often think back and realize I have no idea how I got from the start to the finish of the walk as I was so involved with the great ideas.
This seems to beat many other techniques for generating ideas, at least for me. But why? Here is what I think. When we walk at a steady pace, it has been proven that most people tend to fall into a regular pace of 120 steps per minute. This coincidentally is the almost universal pace that armies march at because it literally makes their minds numb and susceptible to taking orders and it also fosters togetherness. Not only that, but recent studies have also analyzed top musical hits over the years and found that the majority of songs are at a tempo of - you guessed it - 120 beats per minute. Finally, this number corresponds to an actual frequency of 60 cycles per second, a "mesmerizing" frequency in our brains.
Think about this as a way to come up with new ideas. If you try it, let me know if it works.