In the next two posts, I’ll be bringing the thoughts of
Ed bernacki and Steven Gillman along with mine to us.
What exactly does thinking outside the box really mean?
Well according to wikipedia, “Thinking outside the box is a
cliché or catchphrase used to refer to looking at a problem
from a new perspective without preconceptions, sometimes
called a process of lateral thought. The catchphrase has
become widely used in business environments, especially by
management consultants, and has spawned a number of
Well to me, it is as simple as thinking the unusual. Those
simple thoughts we just don’t allow ourselves to think because
of our stereotyped mindset. Why should you block any thought
that is unconventional anyway? There’s no rule against living in
a fantasy world remember? So why don’t we just avail ourselves
the opportunity to dream?
Inside The Box
Thinking inside the box means accepting the status quo. For
example, Charles H. Duell, Director of the US Patent Office, said,
"Everything that can be invented has been invented." That was in
1899: clearly he was in the box!
In-the-box thinkers find it difficult to recognize the quality of an
idea. An idea is an idea. A solution is a solution. In fact, they can
be quite pigheaded when it comes to valuing an idea. They rarely
invest time to turn a mediocre solution into a great solution.
More importantly, in-the-box thinkers are skillful at killing ideas.
They are masters of the creativity killer attitude such as "that'll
never work" or "it's too risky." Does someone you know come to
mind? Avoid him or her like a plague as from now on.
The best in-the-box thinkers are unaware that they drain the
enthusiasm and passion of innovative thinkers while they kill their
They also believe that every problem needs only one solution;
therefore, finding more than one possible solution is a waste of time.
They often say,"There is no time for creative solutions. We just need
Even great creative people can become in-the-box thinkers when
they stop trying. Apathy and indifference can turn an innovator into an
In only one case is in-the-box thinking necessary. This comes from
a cartoon: a man talks to his cat and points to the kitty litter box. He says,
"Never ever think outside the box!"
Outside the Box
Thinking outside the box requires different attributes that include:
- Willingness to take new perspectives to day-to-day work.
- Openness to do different things and to do things differently.
- Focusing on the value of finding new ideas and acting on them.
- Striving to create value in new ways.
- Listening to others.
- Supporting and respecting others when they come up with new ideas.
Out-of-the box thinking requires openness to new ways of seeing the world
and a willingness to explore. Out-of-the box thinkers know that new ideas
need nurturing and support. They also know that having an idea is good but
acting on it is more important. Results are what count.
Thanks to Ed Bernacki for some contribution.
Quote of the post
"The eccentric thinkers are the ones that have been
shaping our world ever since. One thing is certain,
they always will"- Segun Adedokun