Creative Achiever:


Thinking Outside the Box

Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone to Find Innovative Solutions


Vadim Kotelnikov

The distance between a big problem and
a great
creative solution can be uncoverable or very short
– it all depends on
your mindset.

Vadim Kotelnikov,personal logo


"We don't need to think more, we need to think differently." ~ Albert Einstein



Thinking Outside the Box Challenging Assumptions Perceptual Positions Creative Dissatisfaction Emfographics Vadim Kotelnikov Vadim Kotelnikov Thinking Outside the Box, out of box thinking process, 3 eteps, emforgaphics, Vadim Kotelnikov



The "Box"

a Collection of Two Sets of Interactive Mental Models1


Knowledge Structures

External to you

Internal to you



A universally accepted model providing the context for understanding and decision-making in a particular field

The way you think
what you think about



 Caterpillar's Syndrome

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.

Work Smart and Hard


Innovation Quotes

  • Once we rid ourselves of traditional thinking we can get on with creating the future. ~ James Bertrand... More


3 Levels of Your Creativity


The Framework for a Growth Strategy: 4 Rules

By: Ram Charan and Noel M. Trichy

  • Enlarge the pond you fish in – look beyond your industry's boundaries and existing markets to the customer's real needs... More

Make a Difference!


Tips for Challenging Assumptions

By: Paul Sloan3

  • Understand the Problem: recognize that you and everyone else have ingrained assumptions about every situation... More

Be Different!

Think Differently    Top 10 Tips for Thinking Differently

Tips for Adopting a Different Point of View

Different Ways of Making a Difference

Be-Different Success Stories    Dell Inc.

Challenging Assumptions

"Why?" and "What If?" Questions

Tips for Challenging Assumptions



  1. Thinking Outside the Comfort Zone, Jerry Sentell

  2. Lateral Thinking, Edward de Bono

  3. Improve Your Lateral Thinking: Puzzles To Challenge Your Mind, Paul Sloane

  4. The Art of Happiness, HH the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet and Howard C. Cutler

  5. Motivation123, Newsletter by Jason Gracia

  6. How To Jazz Up Innovation, Linda Stern

Powerful Concept

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

Creative Dissatisfaction

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 creativity – and/or an inspirational leader 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

 4 WHYs of True Success

Challenge Assumptions

Challenging assumptions 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... More

Same Reality, Different Perceptions

Problem Solving Strategies: 4 Levels

Ask Searching Questions

Creativity 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 ... More

Step Out of Your Shoes

Change hats and your thinking mode. Stepping out of your everyday shoes and into the shoes of others may help you surface new insights to a problem... More

Paradigm Crisis as a 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 paradigm crisis... More

Success Stories Best Business Practices Silicon Valley

In Silicon Valley, companies challenge the status quo and encourage creative out-of-the-box thinking mixed with pragmatic business judgment... More

Success Stories Best Business Practices Unilever

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

Success Stories Best Business Practices 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 Dalai Lama 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 the room!"... More



Joke: A Car as Collateral

A Russian 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?"



Success Stories Best Business Practices Jugaad – an innovative fix to optimize resources

The Indian Jugaad is a respected methodology of optimizing the resources. It is a survival tactic that expresses a need to do what needs to be done, without regard to what is conventionally supposed to be possible. This meaning is often used to signify creativity to utilize the limited resources to the maximum extent... More