I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in our own image.
...there is no prescribed route to follow to arrive at a new idea. You have to make the intuitive leap. But the difference is that once you've made the intuitive leap you have to justify it by filling in the intermediate steps. In my case, it often happens that I have an idea, but then I try to fill in the intermediate steps and find that they don't work, so I have to give it up.