A colleague of mine, Dan, pointed out that after I had mentioned SecondLife in one of our discussions he "coincidentally" started getting other e-mails and articles that taked about it. His observation was that it wasn't that it was coincidence but rather he became aware. He discussed how the mind looks for shortcuts and quickly identifies whether something is useful or not. Those things that are not perceived as useful are discarded.
The example I would have is if you notice how after you buy a car, suddenly everyone else has bought that exact same car. So how does this apply to creativity and innovation?
Well, Dan suggests that to get the mind to see the other things around it before dismissing it, we can alter our settings. In a collaborative session for example we could add music, reposition chairs, perhaps even change the smells. This is all in attempt to make the mind more alert and open to new stimulus and not get "comfortable".