Learning to Think Outside the Box

We have all heard the expression, “think outside the box.” However, when it comes to putting that idea into play, most of us struggle to think creatively about the issues that we’ve continued to face day in and day out. So how can we teach ourselves to think outside of the box and find creative solutions to our everyday issues?

Learn Outside of the Box

We often rely on our experiences and knowledge to get through some of our most difficult issues. The rationality of relying on successful past procedures to get us through the future can make sense for “in the box” thinking, but it generally is not revolutionary. If you can increase your knowledge base to include other nonconventional strategies for problem-solving, it makes it easier to identify pathways to success through new routes.

Ask for New Approaches

This doesn’t simply mean that you can ask a colleague for an answer. Instead, look to rephrase the entire problem. If you can come up with innovative ways to identify the issues, it can make innovative solutions more apparent.

Change Your Venue

If you consistently meet in the same conference room and people are surrounded by the same things, it’s easy to see that the same ideas may follow. Try to schedule your next meeting somewhere new. You can completely change the environment and look for something outdoors, a different building, or just a different room. If none of these is possible, you can also look to change the décor of the room or add some ambient sound or background music to the same room. These changes to otherwise comfortable surroundings can help participants think differently about the problems they face.

Ask Different People

If the problem you are facing has only been discussed among the same group of people and you continue to hit the same wall, try to change the entire audience. There is generally no problem with cutting out the upper-level management and letting some other members of the organization take a fresh look. This exercise can also help tap into unrecognized talent within your organization for future projects too.

If you are struggling with getting fresh and innovative perspectives from your traditional problems, these tactics are sure to break out some new insight into your business future.  

For more tips, check out these Habits of Remarkably Effective People