This method is inspired by IDEOs "Analogous Inspiration" and an exercise I do in my social theory classes. The underlying idea here is that the cognitive effort at making unlike things alike is a generative source of new ideas.
First version (IDEO): Start by listing activities, behaviors, emotions, interactions that might show up in connection with the thing you are working on. Then identify other contexts where each might be observed. Zero in on the most promising and do a site visit and field observation. When you focus on the activity or emotion in the new context you can abstract away from your original problem to see the activity generically.
Second version: Start by describing the context relevant to the thing you are studying and then brainstorm about it's various components. Next, identify one or more other contexts where we see some version of one of these components. Then ask, what's the analogous thing in the new context to each of the components you listed in the first.