Thinking outside of the box!
We’ve all heard, and often use the phrase thinking outside the box. But what does it really mean?
A quick search of the internet produced the following:
- To approach a problem in a new, or innovative way;
- To conceptualise problems differently;
- To understand your position in relation to known situations, in a different way.
Some people relish the opportunity to break away from the status quo. They enjoy exploring different options, and viewpoints. They see high probability of success. While for others, exploring the unknown is a potential minefield. In their minds, they see a high probability for failure. Their worst nightmare. Why change something if it’s working okay? You may well have come across business speakers and trainers promoting the development of “Growth Mindset”.
Most of us work in a rapidly changing and evolving environment. Nothing stays the same for very long. In the venue finding and events industry more and more clients want something different. Something new. Something original. Something that differentiates their brand from the crowd.
As well as providing tried and tested strategies, methods, approaches, products and services. Successful businesses today also need the ability to “think outside the box”.
But how exactly do we do that? How do we develop the ability to overcome challenges in unique and different ways? How do we cultivate a desire to look at things in a totally different way? How can businesses break out of a ‘tunnel-vision’ approach to business?
It’s best to start thinking outside the box well before we get BOXED IN!
I asked some of our amazing team to share their favourite way to boost out-of-the-box thinking:
Penny MD – Study another industry.
I often pick and study trade magazines from other industries. I also network and sometimes meet with directors to learn about how things are done in other industries. Many of the problems people in other industries face are like your own. However, they’ve often developed quite different ways of dealing with them. Plus studying links between our industries can lead to innovative partnerships in the future.
Jas Sales & Marketing Consultant – Learn something new.
Learning something new not only increases my knowledge and skills. It also teaches me new ways of looking at something. New ways of doing things and ignites my passion for continuous personal and professional development. Learning something new builds my confidence to try more new things and motivates me to seek solutions beyond my ‘comfort zone’ more often.
Ross Event Consultant – Explore different genres
Rather than stick to my preferred genre of book, or Netflix box-set, I sometimes go off-piste. Reading, or watching something different, can be stimulating. If you like factual documentaries, perhaps try a mystery or science fiction. If you prefer a crime series, try a romance, or comedy. It’s also interesting to sometimes look beyond the story. Working out how the writer/author has managed to overcome initial scepticism to the plot. How they pull your attention into their story. Reading autobiographies are also a great way to see life from different perspective.
Kate Accounts Administrator – Work backwards.
Just like turning a thing upside down, working backwards can change the way we perceive something. When something goes wrong in the office, it’s easy to focus on the problem and look for ways to fix it. A different perspective is to focus on what you wanted to happen. Then try and identify the steps working backwards to the problem. I find it’s much more fun and less stressful doing that.
Magdalen Senior Event Consultant – Ask a child for advice.
Children often see the world in very different ways to us. They haven’t learned how uncomfortable getting things wrong feels. Their mind isn’t focussed so much on consequences. Their memory isn’t full of past mistakes, yet. When I ask my daughter how she might tackle a problem, the first thing I must do is translate it into her language. Align it to her understanding. The answers she comes up with are often surprising and very imaginative. Please don’t go straight out and blindly try them – the idea isn’t to do what children say. It’s about giving your own thought process a more unconventional path.
My own favourite is based on the theory that we get some of our best ideas when we least expect them. Some of the most powerful ideas in the history of science came to their inventors while they were daydreaming. There are lots of examples of creative ideas coming to people when they are in the shower, taking a bath, or driving. Have you noticed this strange phenomenon? The so-called “eureka” moment, or the “aha” experience?
Why is it that great ideas tend to arrive when you don’t have an easy way to record them?
There seems to be a link between relaxing environments and creativity.
Rather than spend too long in the bathroom searching for inspiration, I prefer to walk in nature. It works the same way. Some of my best ideas come to me on a gentle, mindful walk in beautiful and awe-inspiring landscapes. I always take a note-pad, or journal with me too. Just so I can get these creative outside-of-the-box ideas written down, before I forget them.
There is a wonderful TedTalk called The Search for “Aha!” Moments by Matt Goldman co-founded Blue Man Group, an off-Broadway production that became a sensation known for its humour, blue body paint and wild stunts. At a time where levels of workplace stress are increasing, Goldman suggests, “We need to cultivate safe and conducive conditions for new and innovative ideas to evolve and thrive”.
What ideas and ways do you have for thinking outside of the box?
Please share your favourite tips, or experiences in the comments below. We’d love to hear them. There will also be a special out-of-the-box prize to the best comment awarded in December.