I want to introduce you to a wonderful blog about games design. Jack Monahan writes about video/computer games, but the points he makes in this post apply to all sorts of design. Here’s a quote for the proverbial appetite-whetting:
First have to admit you don’t know as much as you think you know—about guns or space or marines or swords or knights or what have you—and then you can start learning. And once you’re designing from a position of knowledge, rather than of ignorance, you’re free to make calls as you see fit, informing your design work with some sense of authenticity, rather than as some interchangeable gloss or slight reworking of the last big game you played.
This is a blog you should add to your RSS reader. Monahan is a master of the most primal ingredient of creativity: looking at old things from a new perspective.