My first thought was always a cigarette. It still is, but I haven't cheated.
The science fiction method is dissection and reconstruction.
That's the method: restructure the world we live in in some way, then see what happens.
People ask me how I do research for my science fiction. The answer is, I never do any research.
My old English buddy, John Rackham, wrote and told me what made science fiction different from all other kinds of literature - science fiction is written according to the science fiction method.