The notion 'thinking outside the box' is far
more than just another management cliché. It is a very powerful concept
worthy of deeper consideration in
today's complex and
rapidly changing world.
Leave Your Comfort Zone
Once we rid ourselves of traditional
we can get on with creating the future.
Thinking outside the box is never easy, nor is
it merely a reflection of mental brightness. To leave your psychological
comfort zone and explore "solutions in the unknown world on the outside
requires large measures of mental agility, boldness, and
– and/or an
who makes life in the old box so uncomfortable that getting out is the only
option. The future rests in those willing and able to do so."1
In business, 'thinking outside-the-box' can
mean, for instance, looking beyond your
industry's boundaries and existing markets to the
customer's real needs...
→ 4 WHYs of True Success
Ask Searching Questions
inquisitive mind. Unless you ask lots of
"Why?" and "What If"? questions
, you won't generate creative insights. "To avoid this most common of
creative errors, be sure to peek under all carpets, including your own.
Don't take anything for granted. Especially
success. Try looking at the world through more inquisitive eyes; try
getting ideas in motion; try asking the all-important: "Why?"
See what happens!" says Alexander Hiam.7
Catalyst of Outside-the-Box Thinking
Your concepts of business environment,
organizational structures and management are based on
paradigms. If your organizational
structures and management systems are no longer able to perform as
effectively as alternative ones based on entirely different paradigms you
will at first experience a
Step Out of Your Shoes
and your thinking mode.
Stepping out of your everyday shoes and into the shoes of others may help
new insights to a problem...
In Silicon Valley, companies
challenge the status quo
out-of-the-box thinking mixed with pragmatic business judgment...
Unilever used a designer to shake up the status
quo: one division had to turn the employees' eating area into an
outdoor-picnic environment. The experiment was designed to encourage workers
to think out of the box.6
Buddhist Approach to Life vs. Western Science
"In the Western psychology, there is an
assumption that everything must be accounted for within this lifetime," says
of Tibet. "So, when you can't explain what is causing certain behaviors
problems, the tendency is to always attribute it to the unconscious. It's
a bit like you've lost something and you decide that the object is in this
room. And once you have decided this, then you've already fixed your
parameters; you've precluded the possibility of its being outside the room
or in another room. So you keep on searching and searching, but you are not
finding it, yet you continue to assume that it is still hidden somewhere in
A Car as Collateral
businessman walks into a Swiss bank in Geneva and asks for a $100 loan. He
offers his luxury Mercedes car as collateral. The collateral is too good,
and the bank manager approves the loan. A year later, the Russian comes
back. He repays the loan and the 10% interest and is ready to collect his
car. Finally, the puzzled bank manager dares to ask him: "Excuse me, sir,
could you tell me: did you really need that $100 so badly? In order to
get the money, you left your luxury car with us for a whole year!" The
Russian replied, "That's simple – just think outside the box: where
else in Geneva can I find such a great parking place for just $10 a year?"