Increasing In-the-box-thinking

Lately I have been surprised with the number of brainstorms I’m in or how many times people talk about having a brainstorm. Any subject is a good excuse to organise one: new positioning, innovation, a promotion, ‘something viral’, a new name, what shall we buy for her birthday party….

And always are there high expectations, with the same rules: Any idea is good, building on each other’s ideas, letting the participants speak, etcetera’s.And then of course the usual suspect: out-of-the-box thinking.

This is going to be fun!

When I was young 😉 I really liked that. For me that was the trigger for unbridled creative thinking, exploring new frontiers, changing the world. Anything is possible, right?


What I found out is that out-of-the-box thinking isn’t accepted. Well the thinking is, but when it comes to out-of-the-box ideas, suddenly the box is too small. People just don’t understand it or don’t accept it. Either it’s the participants or it’s the rest of the organization.

You’ve heard them, excuses like the ‘yes buts’, let’s stay realistic, we need more research, the board of directors won’t like it, do I need to go on? Sometimes, people are more creative in finding reasons not to do it, then to go for it.

It’s fear. The fear of embracing new things. Things out of the ordinary are unfamiliar, out of the comfort zone of a lot of people. And that’s beside the fear of hard work. What started as a ‘fun’ thing turns into a monster.

But hell, that is the way great companies become successful, embracing new things. Think of Crocs (love it or hate it), Ben & Jerry’s, Mini….

The biggest challenge is not finding great new ideas, the problem is to make people understand ‘why’ it is a good idea and ‘why’ we should embrace it. Creative people, naturally think out of the box, which is easy. Their biggest challenge therefore lies in increasing-the-box. That’s the best way to make all those incredible great ideas, land inside the box and inspire people.

And believe me this takes much more creativity to accomplish that, but man, the reward of making it happen is amazing.

Happy in-the-box-thinking!


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