Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Is there anything as too much out-of-the-box thinking?

Creativity has often been analogized as “thinking outside the box.”


Fundamentally, the "box" is the set of "rules" you are abiding by at any moment in time, by breakdown of old rules, your mind sets free to create the new ideas, usually comes from identifying and challenging assumptions and then generating more possibilities. However, without box (rules), can you generate more useful and achievable ideas? Is there anything as too much out of the box thinking?

Out of the box, thinking keeps creativity flowing! Great ideas only happen outside of the usual restraints. Start with "what if . ., " and see where it takes you. Only then do you have enough to start weeding out the bizarre and tweaking sound ideas into reality. The point is not to be unduly constrained in your thinking, but at the same time not to lose sight of the objective of thinking. Particularly, the box keeps changing. In today's competitive environment, what was outside the box yesterday, may not be such today. Our thinking has to continuously evolve, adopt, and prepare for changes...so there are not such things as too much outside the box thinking, but it's also important to shape the newer box to stay focus. There’s nothing wrong with lots of out-of-the-box creative type thinking as long as you couple it with some good analytical (left brain type thinking). Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of spending too much time and effort chasing down bad ideas. Think of it as going from divergent thinking (out-of-the-box) to convergent thinking where you filter or funnel down the ideas to those that make sense given your capabilities.


There needs to be context and known parameters; so it can be judged if it is cliche, inside the box thinking, outside the box thinking, or incomprehensible. It doesn't matter if the idea is original or mundane if there is nothing to compare or relate it to. Most of the time, almost all the time, the unsolved thorny issue isn't that people are staring at the problem too long, it is that the problem isn't really clear in the first place. Everyone has a different interpretation of what the problem is, therefore staring at an unclear problem goes nowhere. Instead, don't jump too quickly into solution mode, and make sure everyone is really CLEAR on what the problem is, reframe the problems via applying "out of box" thinking, because as Einstein wisely put "you can's solve the problems with the same thinking when you created them."


Step into others' box to gain the new insight. Often a problem is seen very differently by two different parties. By stepping outside your own box and getting into theirs, a solution becomes obvious, then get back in your own box and think how that solution will work for you. Almost always, it's possible to see a mutually beneficial solution or one solution with two parts to it. This method works particularly well with complex problems and the results can be surprising, two diametrically opposed parties sometimes end up working together on a solution that suits them both.

Out of the box, thinking keeps creativity flowing! Too much thinking outside the box can get you to solitude, and too little can make you an ignorant. There needs to be context, balance, and known parameters, so it can be judged if it is cliche, inside the box thinking, outside the box thinking, or incomprehensible. It doesn't matter if the idea is original or mundane if there is nothing to compare or relate it to. More precisely, it’s about continuing to break down the outdated old box, and shape the new box thinking to see alternatives and solve complex problems with creativity and collaboration.



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