Let’s face it.
We find awesome stuff online to reference from. Whether it be a small art painting hung up in a local cafe to impress that cute barista or a new building project in Dubai, your initial idea will come from somewhere else.
If you really want to be “original” or “innovative”, projects that reference outside of the scope tend to be more interesting. Take examples that don’t connect with the topic at hand. For example, need to incorporate flying for an airline logo without using a bird? Look up giraffes or even father away 18th century doors (A bit absurd, but you get my point).
It’s lateral thinking. You’ll become more informed in and around your topic (obviously, you should understand what the topic is first). Your references could be taken from within the scope but if it’s lacking that “originality” that many of us desire, then try looking away to what it immediate connects to. However, that said, this doesn’t always work if you are trying to connect people with a familiar visual language and use a visual motif from something that they can’t relate to.
It’s effective to share as well. Larger teams like Twitter, hold a group conversation for an hour to go over what they want to talk about. It encourages bouncing ideas, sharing what new things they’ve found and looking into problems in a networked way. But what’s important is that they’re creating a new knowledge around a topic by engaging in a conversation of many different perspectives.
Look outside of the scope to find new connections for your design.