I thought I would quickly share a new process that I came up with that has been working really well for me. As Brian said, not everyone has success with the same process, but none the less this has proven useful for me.
After doing the research and drafting a creative brief, I worked at creating a mind map. The next day I took a highlighter and selected various things that stood out or I thought was interesting.
I then took those highlighted phrases or words and googled them in the image search. I then printed off the images and glued them into my notebook (for easy travel to the book store or coffee shop)
After the images were on the pages, I began writing short narratives with the specific scene or object depicted in the image. The narative had to relate back to the product in someway. By the time I got to the end of the short little story, I always seemed to land on a rough idea, an intresting association of sorts.
Anyways, this was a little something I discovered that has been working well for me, and i thought I would share.