Thinking outside the box is about dispensing with constraints and is a sought after skill particularly in marketing, technology and design...
With that said however, it is a great quality to be applied in any environment or problem solving scenario, as it encourages creative thinking, imagination and coming up with new concepts and ideas, which is very much needed in an innovative world.
So where does the saying “thinking outside the box” come from, it was used by management consulting groups in the 1960s and 70s, in the form of an illustration puzzle called the “nine dots puzzle” from a 1914 book by Sam Lloyd called the Cyclopedia of Puzzles. The consulting firms would present the following puzzle and instruction that requires lateral thinking.
Link all 9 dots using four straight lines or fewer, without lifting the pen and without tracing the same line more than once.
The often cited solution appears below, using only 4 lines.
As our minds are often drawn to building a box within the parameters of the illustration above, we instantly put in place constraints to a solution.
3 effective ways to think “outside the box”
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