IMAGINE: Transform Objects
It's a common exercise in acting and clown classes: the students stand in a circle, an object is passed around, and each participant pretends that the object is something, anything, other than it is. A rope becomes a clarinet, a plate becomes a hat, a pillow becomes a rocket ship. They're tapping into the imagination we had as kids, where the box a toy came in could have more possibilities for make-believe than the toy itself.
As Dan Kamin writes about in his marvelous book, The Comedy of Charlie Chaplin (break open your piggy bank, sell your comic book collection, or rob a convenience store to get this book!), Chaplin was a master of the transformation gag, by not only transforming objects, but also settings, body parts, actions, and relationships, he created the visual equivalent of a pun.
Looking at objects beyond their customary functions opens you to many more potential solutions. You use things in ways for which they were never intended, but are exactly what you need.
Think: What else can this be? What else can this do? What does this remind me of or suggest to me? What would I like it to do be do be do?