What Exactly is Thinking Outside the Box?

From FedEx Delivers: How the World’s Leading Shipping Company Keeps Innovating and Outperforming the Competition:

When looking for these creative ideas and innovative solutions, it is often said that one should “think outside the box.” But what exactly is this proverbial “box”?

You can think of it as the space in the brain that contains all those bits of information and connections made so far. A dot is a bit of information in the knowledge base. And after solving a problem, repeatedly the same way, the connections become automatic. So, when a person is faced with the same problem, the mind, without any conscious effort presents the old, known solution.

In many ways, the mind operates like a computer. It scans the knowledge base of the memory (mind) to come up with creative solutions. If the knowledge base is old, the ideas generated may be obsolete. If the knowledge base is limited to a very small part of the total business process or operation, then the solution will only take that area into account.

Solutions that are derived from the same thought processes that the mind has used for years are unlikely to be innovative. The requirement for outside-the-box thinking is the ability to make new connections. New connections can be made in one of two ways: (1) having more dots to connect (a new or updated knowledge base) or (2) connecting the old dots in new imaginative ways.

Because creativity is the ability to connect seemingly unrelated variables (the dots we store in our minds) in imaginative ways, employees must continually update their knowledge bases…

January 22, 2010 | Filed Under Innovation | 2 Comments 

Comments

  • http://squarepeggedness.blogspot.com Rachael Starke

    It’s presumption.

    It’s being convinced that the way you’ve been told something must be done isn’t binding or authoritative, and that you have a better idea.

    It’s really ironic that in my former professional life I had a good reputation for being an “out of the box” thinker, but that as I mature in my Christian life, I’m seeing that the root of my sinful speaking or thinking is often the very same notion – that I have information God doesn’t, and I know better than Him what someone else should do.

    Out of the box thinking in business – essential.
    Out of the box thinking in the Christian life – fatal.
    Balancing the two – brutal. :)

  • http://None Curtis Wynn

    Can you really think out side the box? I’ve got a puzzle that no one seems to be able to answer, correctly.

    In the Bible, there is one who is called “THE BRANCH”, who is it that the Jewish people believe this is, seines how, they don’t believe that Christ is the Messiah?

    And, is he (The BRANCH) really Jesus The Christ / Messiah, that Christian’s believe him to be?
    And remember, the Bible tells us in John 15:5 where Christ himself is speaking, and he said,

    5. I am the vine; ye are the branches:…

    Out side the verses Is.11:1, Jer.23:5 – 33:15. and Zec. 3:8, 6:12. Where if at all, does the Bible tell us that, Christ is The BRANCH, or that, The BRANCH is Christ?

    Answer this puzzle, and you will have proved to the whole world that, “thinking out of the box is good.” And God’s speed too ya!