This is something I've been thinking about recently and I think it could provide insights into creative challenges. It's a product of my fiction project.
1) I was eating my dinner when an evil demon appeared. He told me I had to convert the fork in my hand into the Angel of the North...or face dire consequences. Thinking about the challenge for a moment I considered the task easy and that I could approach the challenge in a couple of ways that would complete the challenge:
I could melt down the fork and make a model of the Angel of the North.
I could travel to Gateshead, melt down the fork and spread the molten metal over the Angel.
However, the evil demon then stipulated that the challenge must be completed in thirty seconds. Desperate to complete the task in any way possible, I panicked, ran out of my house into the front garden, plunged the fork into the ground and said to a passer- by: "This is the Angel of the North".
2) I was eating my dinner and an evil demon appeared. He told me that I had to convert my front garden into a gym. I considered the task easy: I could buy some gym equipment, set it up and charge locals to use the equipment. However, the demon stipulated that the task must be completed in thirty seconds. Desperate to complete the task, I rushed to my front garden and said to a passer-by: "do some press-ups and I will stand on your back".
As a thought experiment, example 2 generated thoughts that led to an idea: that a website could be started called 'the home gym' (or maybe 'free gym'). The purpose of the website would be to teach visitors how to achieve physical fitness without any expenditure whatsoever. An achievable goal?
3) Another time the evil demon appeared and told me to convert the potato on my plate into a fish. With the time limit of thirty seconds I panicked, rushed to the fish tank and plunged the potato into the water. I said to the demon "This is a fish".
This made me think that this approach could be used as a free-association tool to find a subject for creative focus. Asking myself "What would plunging my hand into the tank look like?" I remembered the practical joke where someone conceals a slice of carrot in their hand, plunges their hand into a fish tank, brings the 'fish' out of the water and proceeds to eat it. It also made me think of trout-tickling.