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
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
means questioning the everyday things you take for granted. "The best
assumption to have is that any commonly held belief is wrong," says Ken
Olson, CEO of DEC...
Yin-Yang of Entrepreneurial Creativity
Ask Searching Questions
requires an 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
Turning Problems Into Opportunities: 6 Tips
Case in Point
A very unusual experiment was conducted by John
Fabre, the French naturalist, consisting of processionary caterpillars, a
type of caterpillar that blindly follows the one in front of it.5
This explains the name processionary
caterpillar. The experiment consisted of several of these caterpillars, a
flowerpot filled to the rim with dirt, and pine needles.
The caterpillars formed a complete circle
around the rim of the flowerpot, with the first one touching the back of the
last one. The pine needles, the food of the processionary caterpillar, were
placed in the center of the circle.
The caterpillars began their procession around
the flowerpot, one following the other in a circle. This went on hour after
hour, day after day, for an entire week. In the end, every one of the
caterpillars dropped dead of starvation.
The one thing that could have saved them was
only six inches away, but without purposeful thought or action, the
caterpillars continued with a habitual routine that eventually proved too
much to endure.
This is happening to people, too.
Case in Point
Buzzmarketing: Get People to Talk About Your Stuff
by Mark Hughes
The entrepreneurs from half.com looked for an
interesting way to launch their site – something that would make people and
the media talk about their site. They wished to use a
At first they hired an ideation company that
suggested the usual wild ideas, such as releasing a large balloon from Mount
Rushmore... These were not really the kind of things that would make people
talk about half.com.
After some time, half.com's team came up with a
really interesting out-of-the-box idea. Find a place that has the word
"half" in it, and convince them to temporarily change their name to half.com.
A brief search in the US list of names of places brought out Halfway,
In early December 1999, a representative of the
Half.com marketing team paid a visit to Halfway, Oregon to ask Mayor Dick
Crow if the town would consider changing its name to Half.com, Oregon.
On Wednesday, January 19th, NBC's Today Show
was broadcast live from Half.com, Oregon, and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania,
corporate headquarters of Half.com, Inc. as the company launched its web
site. Millions of viewers and Internet users throughout the country and the
world experienced the proclamation of the World's First Dot Com City and the
new person-to-person business model presented by Half.com...
Case in Point
The 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
or 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?"