One of my favorite methods for coming up with ideas for stories and projects is The Opposite Technique, in which you identify the way something usually is done, generate the opposite of that, and then see how you can turn the opposite into something practical. Volvo has a new project that is a perfect example.
The usual thing for car makers is to try to ensure the safety of the people inside their cars. One version of the opposite would be to try to ensure the safety of the people NOT in their cars. Volvo is conducting an experiment with this by handing out free spray cans of paint. The paint is invisible by day but glows brightly when illuminated by headlights. People can spray it on their bicycles, helmets, jackets, shoes--it doesn't damage those and it can be washed off with water. Normally it lasts for about a week. At the moment, Volvo is testing the program in London and Kent. If the response is positive, they'll expand it to cover the UK and eventually roll it out internationally.
Why not try using The Opposite Technique the next time you need to come up with a fresh idea for a story, a marketing method, a presentation, or just about anything else?
(Want to learn another 24 methods for coming up with ideas, as well as tips for getting into a creative mindset, turning ideas into action, and case studies of how others have done it? Get a copy of my book, Creativity Now, published by Pearson and available from your favorite bookseller.)