Can you think out of the box?

Here is an interesting topic. No matter where you are, in school or at work, you will hear talk about “thinking out of the box”?

Out-of-the-box-thinking
Out-of-the-box-thinking
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it – how did we get in the box in the first place?

Unfortunately, the reality of you being in the box, does not change the fact that your bosses probably prefer you to think “out” of the box.

One common misconception is that to think out of the box is to break all the rules. On the surface, this makes sense. You read about the rule-changing innovations like Fedex’s hub-and-spoke concept, and about the Macintosh innovations, and many other examples of how, by ignoring conventions, companies and individuals have managed to achieve amazing results.

Yet, all these innovations, once created, form their own rules, essentially creating a “new box”. So, the real question is not about thinking out of the box, rather, it is about designing a new box. When you are able to transcend the boundaries of your current situation, you will be able to develop an innovative solution.

Often, designers are faced with this challenge. They need to conform to many rules. These rules are important. They are real. Things like Corporate Style Guides, Logo Usage Guides and in the areas of product design, you have safety guidelines, usability guidelines and many more. The boxes seem many and varied. It is not easy to rise above all these.
There are no rules for thinking out of the box. Sometimes, vast experience and knowledge provides the foundation from which the innovative ideas spring. Sometimes, totally naiveté spurs the brave (and foolish) to persist on their path to glory.

Can you think out of the box? Most certainly, anyone can. Yet, being able to tie those wayward ideas back to reality in a way that will render them useful, relevant, practical and innovative; that is really a skill that will most likely come with experience.

So, if you want to think out of the box, stop thinking about it and just, well, think.

Inspired by this article at calvinwarr.com: Thinking out of the box

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