The Key to think outside the box

Super User
04 May 2016
Think outside the box

People often speak about thinking outside the box will help you get creative ideas, but how do you really do it? The key is to define the box in any given situation and then to seek alternative, often unconventional solutions that would be considered beyond the norm.

When you are faced with the task, train yourself to not merely focus on the specific issue at hand but also think of all the possible reasons and the possibilities, never being dismissive of anything. When you do this, alternative solutions will often materialize giving you options you did not see when narrowly focusing on a specific issue and develop ideas you get.

Here are three simple research-based techniques for boosting your ability to think outside the box.

 1. Focus on the problem

Albert Einstein once remarked, “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the answer, I would spend the first 55 minutes figuring out the proper questions to ask. For if I knew the proper questions, I could solve the problem in less than 5 minutes.”

When confronted with a question, we usually focus our efforts on trying to come up with a solution. By developing a more thorough and comprehensive understanding of the issue at hand, we’re far more likely to come up with effective and innovative ways to solve it. Before trying to draw a solution, research shows that the best thing to do is to focus on re-conceptualizing the problem. To think outside the box involves examining the question from various angles and perspectives, all to gaining a deeper understanding of the issue.

2. See things from all perspectives

The key think outside the box, contains that you force yourself to step out of your comfort zone. When you step into a process that need a creative mindset it is very important to be able to see things from different perspectives. The creative ideas you get when you think outside the box, are born by listening and trying to understand the customer’s needs and their perspective on new concepts. Most people tend to stick to their comfort zone and choose the path of least mental resistance. By placing restrictions on your work and forcing yourself to step outside, it could encourage you to think different and who knows, maybe you end up with an original and exciting solution. Thinking outside the box would mean that you start approaching specific situations and problems from a completely different point of view, than you did before.

3. Develop your creative ideas

When it's time to develop ideas, use your time wisely. Brainstorming, having regular workshops and arranging team days, are just some of the ways to start-up your creative thinking. A team involved in a brainstorming session is likely to be more effective than the sum of its parts. Individuals within the team can feed off each other – exploring, testing and develop ideas. Creative ideas can be small and simple, or large and complex. It is all about the passion for a subject, it may turn in to be the genesis of a compelling idea.

Act on the ideas. Creative thinking is only worthwhile if it results in action. Provide the time and resources to develop and implement those creative ideas worth acting upon. The key to think outside the box is to get creative and find the things there helps you stand out in a world, as it differentiate you from your competitors and makes you more memorable in your customer's mind.

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