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How do I think outside the box?

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

If you are like me, you've probably sat in dozens of brainstorming meetings, only to have left frustrated. Although the task at hand was to think outside the box, for some reason, you just couldn't. I myself am a pretty creative person, but at one time or another, when crunch time came around, I froze. Even though I knew I was supposed to think outside the box in order to innovate, I just wasn't able to produce results when called upon.

“We never look beyond our assumptions and what's worse, we have given up trying to meet others; we just meet ourselves.”

Muriel Barbery

I knew that I was working off an assumption, that I needed to think outside the box in order to innovate, but I didn't clearly see the false contradiction until researching the matter further. But if insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, I realized that I, along with most of the world, was basically insane. It's a vicious cycle. We face a challenge, a brick wall. We challenge ourselves to think differently, outside the box. And then we stare at a whiteboard and bury our faces in our hands.

The problem with being tasked to think outside the box is that there is no direction as to how exactly to accomplish it. It's extremely frustrating and time consuming to stare into space, hoping that the next big idea will just fall into your lap. If you are the type of person who often wins a lottery, then perhaps this method is for you. But for the most of us, it's pretty much a road to nowhere.

A while back, a colleague introduced me to the book Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg, From the moment I picked it up, I knew I had struck gold. I read it once, then reread it multiple times and then shared it with everyone I knew. I just couldn't believe it. I finally discovered a system that teaches how to innovate creatively, by asking a series of targeted questions that constrain our brain and forces us to think creatively. Never again would I have to stare at a blank sheet of paper and hope for a miracle. The SIT (systematic inventive thinking) method explains that by thinking inside the box, we can innovate effectively and efficiently on demand, almost every single time. I was given the keys. I just needed to learn which doors they unlock.

Curious to learn more? Stay tuned for next week's blogpost as I begin to share the secrets of results driven innovation.

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