A quirky legion of idea peddlers has quietly invented what might be a new discipline and is certainly an expanding niche. ...What’s clear is that in recent years, much of corporate America has gone meta — it has started thinking about thinking. And all that thinking has led many executives to the same conclusion: We need help thinking. Why did innovation-mania take hold in the last decade or so? One school of thought holds that corporations both rise and die faster than ever today, placing a premium on the speedy generation of ideas. The dot-com boom accelerated the process.