I see what you’re trying to say, but I think the example you give belies the point. Einstein always started with a problem first (e.g. what would it be like to ride on a beam of light). Obviously, that takes some imagination, but imagination without a problem rarely amounts to much.
For my book, Mapping Innovation, I spoke to dozens of innovators, including one that won the Nobel prize last week, and in every case they were driven by a specific problem to solve. Once they identified the problem, ideas for how to solve it would come.