Thinking in New Boxes is about changing the way you think, or, more precisely, increasing your awareness of how we all create and use mental boxes. It is a new paradigm for creativity, by virtue of the focus on interplay between the broad new boxes and smaller ones that fill them. There is no limit to the power of the five steps we have discussed, or to what you can accomplish with them. Yet, the challenge is to open up yourself to the unexpected, to astonishment, and to surprise. To challenge yourself to take creative risks and allow others you interact with, at work or at home, to do so, too. To free yourself from the shackles of your existing boxes, and foster an environment where your mental models are constantly being thoughtfully reevaluated, where a healthy dose of doubt allows new possibilities to take root. And if you succeed for a while, that’s great, but you’ll need to reevaluate relentlessly, to make sure you continue to do so.
"The book is both academically rigorous and highly accessible, with call-out graphics, charts, and optical illusions adding visual interest and illustrating concepts. Informative and practical, this is a must-read for anyone in a leadership position who dares to look at the world in new ways." Publishers Weekly
"While focusing on business creativity, the principles in this book apply anywhere change is needed and will be of interest to anyone seeking to reinvent herself."Blogcritics
"Thinking in New Boxescan help people rediscover the full power of thinking in all its many dimensions. It can help them come together to imagine, shape, and then release into the world new designs, strategies, and visions that may lead to the next Post-it note or the next iPad." bcg.perspectives
"Thinkinginboxes doesn’t sound like a recipe for creativity, and it isn’t. Thinkingoutsidethe box is a good first step, it asks a person to challenge the current boxes, but it lacks guidance on how to proceed. Thinking innewboxes does provide this guidance. It changes your thinking from deductive to inductive."Floris Wolswijk
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To cope with complicated ideas the mind simplifies, placing the physical reality in a more conveniently sized, manageable “box.”
The world confronts us with an infinite array of people, places, and objects; we use patterns and systems to simplify these, and categories to organize them.
A paradigm is a box so big (for example, “gallantry” or “generosity”) that sometimes you don’t even realize it’s still just a box, like being on a boat so big that you forget you’re at sea.
Every mental model you create, no matter how brilliant or profitable, will eventually need to be refreshed and replaced, since the world will continue to evolve while your box stays frozen.
The eye (as well as the mind) deceives you constantly as it simplifies the world in front of you – sometimes in harmless ways, sometimes not.
In some sense, we are indeed all tied, by our boxes, to a certain view of the world, and thinking outside the box means escaping from at least one tether.
Asking people to escape a box will work only if people learned the rules and practices of the ties that bind them to their models, where the vulnerabilities are, and what they need to achieve to discover the gaps in the system and then walk through one of those gaps.
You can’t get away from your current models until you are conscious of their existence, and start to doubt and investigate them.
James Henslin has shown that people, harboring the so-called illusion of control, will tend to throw dice more vigorously when asked to try to roll a six, and more gently when asked to try to roll a one. They erroneously believe that by exerting more energy, they can change the outcome of a dice roll!
Researchers have established that an individual’s level of belief in global warming varies based on the weather in their local community.
People tend to make mistakes based on the “conjunction fallacy,” that is, they improperly determine that specific conditions are more probable than a single, more general one.
Mistakes stemming from the conjunction fallacy are said to entail the “representativeness heuristic,” through which people evaluate probabilities based on the extent to which one factor (wetness) is representative of another one (rain), that is, by the extent to which the first thing resembles the second.
The first step toward thinking in new boxes is to doubt absolutely everything: Your most fundamental beliefs, your perceptions of reality, and your assumptions about the future.
Creativity is possible only when you are humble about your existing approaches to thinking about things.
Freed as much as possible from the inaccurate, biased sextants of the past, you will be able now to navigate stormy waters of the unknown more boldly and to notice details you might previously have missed.
Even with a fresh focus on judgment and deduction, you need to continue to foster an open-minded attitude of doubt; otherwise you risk eliminating any ideas that depart too much from the status quo.
No idea is good forever. To be successful, it is imperative to create one new box after another, em-bracing change, and knowing when it’s time to discard one box and replace it with another.
Planning for the future involves scenario-planning exercises, using “what if” and “but if” scenarios – versions of the future based on far-out hypotheses – to shape new boxes and stress-test current ones.
We all face unexpected and even strange developments in the future, so the most robust new boxes must be able to help companies survive and thrive – in highly unpredictable conditions.
The ideal environment to foster the development of new boxes is usually somewhere off-site, comfortable, and as unfamiliar to you and anyone joining you as possible. A new environment provides a new perspective and thus helps stimulate new thinking.
Thinking in new boxes is about changing the way you think, or, more precisely, increasing your awareness of how we all create and use mental boxes.