Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Innovation is about "Getting Out of the Box"...So what?

Add to delicious   delicious  

What do we mean by “The Box”? Is this outside or inside of us? If you think about it The Box is who we are today – made up of deep beliefs and assumptions from our life’s experiences so far. Everyone’s boxes are different and unique. We tend to associate with and hire people who have a box similar to ours: not a good practice if one wants to expand and grow. 

To help you discover your own box, here are some questions for you to think about.

  1. Where is this Box? What material is it made up of? How tall is it? How big is it to others?
  2. Who can come in your box? Who cannot?
  3. Does everyone have a box?
  4. When one is born, did the box exist? How does it get created?
  5. What is the role of parents in creating the box for their children?
  6. What is the role of a manager in crafting a box for new hires, especially new graduates?

The Box is one’s “context” or “point of view” about what is right and what is wrong. 

Most of us are happiest when we are at the center of the box. We don’t like to be pushed to the corner of the box. We get scared. What does that mean? 

The center of the box is where the left brain is most happy. It is where everyone around expects us to be in order to do “the work” assigned to us. Most of us work from the center of the box on a daily basis – routine patterns, nothing new, boring, etc. 

The best innovators are keenly self-aware of their own box and its characteristics. They also have trained themselves to go to the edge of the box on daily basis. They also “jump-out of the box” often to find new ideas, see what others don’t see, and are not fearful. They are “lost” (deeply loving what they do) when they are away from the center of the box. They in fact hate being stuck in the center of the box. Most people look at them as “different.” They become innovators because of their out of the box qualities along with an ability to navigate organizational systems and overcome deeply rooted orthodoxies. They can be considered corporate missionaries. 

Finally, the very best, the world-class innovation leaders are fully aware of their box and also the boxes of others around them. They also love to get outside the box. So what is the difference between the best and the world-class? The world-class innovators also know how to pull others outside of their respective boxes as well. 

Organizations must learn to create a pipeline of such leaders to deal with the complex and fast changing world. 

What is your organization doing to institutionalize out of the box environment and reward out of the box thinking?

You can download FREE articles at

Tags: , ,


Comments have been closed for this article.