When creators talk about thinking outside the box, they mean coming up with creative ways to solve problems. New ways of looking at things. How do they do it? How can you do the same or be more creative? First, we have to ask what the “box” is. Then we can look at how we can get out of it.
The “box” is a general term for doing things and looking at things. It is an idea that almost everyone involved is making.
The best way to start thinking outside the box right away is to see and challenge all the ideas that involve thinking inside the box.
One of the major brands of alcohol was in decline over the years, and it was unable to increase its sales. Promotions, lower prices, getting better shelf placement – these were “boxed” solutions. Then someone challenged the ideas, asking, “What if we stopped the promotion and increased the price?”
The price was raised as a test, and sales doubled quickly. As it happens, some types of alcohol are often bought as gifts. Consumers do not want to buy more expensive, but they also do not want to look cheap, so they will not buy products that are not expensive enough.
Now think of what happens to your profit margins when you increase your price and double your sales. That is the power of thinking outside the box.
Ways to Get Out of the Box
Challenging guessing is a powerful way to solve problems. The hard part is identifying ideas. When designing a new motorcycle, write down what you think are “speed issues,” “we have to go for gas” and “we need two wheels,” not because you expect to prove this wrong, but because challenging this can lead to creating opportunities. Maybe it’s time for a three-wheeled electric motorcycle.
One way to find creative solutions is to “make sense.” This is fun or annoying, depending on how open you can be. All you have to do is start thinking nonsense, and find ways to make it your mind. An easy way to do so is to ask, “What if.”
What if the carpet cleaning business was better than most customers? Sounds ridiculous, but work on it. Hmm… a little stress, maybe. Great profit if each customer charged three times that much. Is that possible? Commercial activities involving large, easy-to-clean areas (theaters, offices, convention halls) make more money per day than housing, and headaches are reduced. Focusing on getting those accounts can be a very rewarding way to go – not the least bit trivial.
Another way to get new ideas is to make your mind out of the box. Get out of the house or office. Look around at how others do things. On Ecuador buses, vendors place the product in everyone’s hands and allow them to hold it while they sell. Then you have to return your “product” or pay for it. It works great. How can you apply the principle in your business?