We’ve all heard the cliché “think outside the box”. It’s a rallying cry to get the corporate troops to be creative, and it’s not a terrible one at that. However, the truth is that the brain requires some sort of box to function optimally. The brain likes structure, mental models, theories, and examples. It doesn’t mean that we have to be stuck in the same old mentalities, but they aren’t exactly useless either. So that is why we need to start thinking in NEW boxes.
Here is a case study Alan provides to explain the idea of thinking in new boxes:
When BIC, manufacturer of disposable ballpoint pens, wanted to grow, it looked for an idea beyond introducing new sizes and ink colors. Someone suggested lighters. LIGHTERS?
With an idea that seemed crazy at first, that bright executive, instead of seeing BIC as a pen company—a business in the PEN “box”—figured out that there was growth to be found in the DISPOSABLE “box.” And he was right. Now there are disposable BIC lighters, razors, even phones. The company opened its door to a host of opportunities.
IT INVENTED A NEW BOX.