First, a reality check. Authors Brabandere and Iny tell us that there is no shame, or rather, no choice, in the way we often default to thinking in boxes.
But we can't just think 'outside the box' because we "use more than one box to handle any situation" and "even if you could isolate just one such box from among all those you have created, you will still struggle to think outside it because the space beyond it is too expansive."
But surprisingly their advice isn't about limiting your options, but by "creating shapes within the square" you have an "infinite number of solutions." So instead of boxes, you have lots of boxes with a limitless number of shapes within them. This is what opens us up to new thought.
Throughout Thinking in New Boxes, the authors show us processes to challenge our tendencies, including "Doubt Everything," "Probe the Possible," and "Reevaluate Relentlessly." These chapters form a linked chain of mental adjustments that you can apply to problems so you can unveil the less obvious.
The authors use case studies of companies like Bic, Netflix, and Trader Joe's to exemplify the application of this new way of thinking, and they also present strategies for any of us to spur our own innovative thinking. I particularly liked a graph in their "From Inspiration to Innovation" chapter that shows how a slight change in perspective can lead to a whole new way of viewing a problem.
What a book like this can do is liberate you. It can liberate you from the constraints traditional thinking places upon you, and it can also liberate you from the pressure to venture out into the Wild Wild West of creative thinking with no compass. Thinking in New Boxes is a fun and enlightening exploration of how we think and how endless the possibilities truly are.
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