Thinking in New Boxes
a new Paradigm for Business Creativity
from Books on 2013 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty, because they didn’t really know. It just came to them and they just saw it. After they thought about it for awhile, it seemed obvious to them. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things”. – Steve Jobs, Apple
Lessons to learn: To be creative, change your perspective. Diverge, converge & re-evaluate – again & again – till you get what you want.
Think “outside” the Box ??? It’s a common saying, it’s wrong. “Thinking outside the box” leads us to scout the horizon of what we are currently doing. It allows for discovery of related concepts, but won’t protect you from new innovations.
Thinking in New Boxes – on the other hand – is focused on changing your mind and sparking the next big idea. This is an analysis of this great book by Luc de Brandere & Alan Iny. We people make sense of the world by using mental models. We fit things into categories (ie, mammals, cars, friends & foes). We tend to think “inside” these mental models, or boxes. We use them to make the world manageable, it’s something we can’t do without. It reduces uncertainty, and people love that. Thinking in boxes doesn’t sound like a recipe for creativity.
Outside & New. Thinking “outside” the box is a good first step. It asks a person to challenge the current boxes, but it lacks guidance on how to proceed. Thinking in “new” boxes does provide this guidance. It changes your thinking from deductive to inductive.
The Framework (a box in itself) explains thinking in “new” boxes in 5 steps: (this may already challenge your thinking about creativity as a non-rigid exercise)
1. Doubt Everything – All your ideas are hypotheses – they are not set in stone. Challenge them !!!
2. Probe the Possible – Ask questions to define the issues you want to address & objectives you want to accomplish
3. Diverge – Brainstorm on how to tackle the challenges – with yourself & others
4. Converge – Test your ideas, by making a low-risk, small-pilot Trial – to see if it works – then scale up to a bigger Trial.
5. Re-evaluate Relentlessly – On each Trial, go back to Step 1 and determine if you’re getting the results you expected. If so, expand further; if not, re-evaluate what you want or a different way to get your original expectations. It may only take a minor modification of your approach.
Like a Workshop. The authors take their time to explain how each (relatively easy) phase works and use real-life examples + a fictional case to bring their point across. The last few chapters consider how to apply the framework (again, box) to creative problems and business strategy.
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything”. – George Bernard Shaw, Author
Why? Thinking in New Boxes is a must read – whether you are innovating, strategizing or leading change of any sort. It will let you doubt everything you do – in a good way. It should be next on your list.
Comments: How has it worked for you, when you Thot in new Boxes?