November 9

Thinking Way Outside the Box

When organisations are looking to build innovation into their corporate strategy, one option which they may consider is a dual operating system. Originally proposed by Dr John Kotter, this model effectively has a box within a box with the core business processes carrying on within the inner box whilst innovative activity takes place outside. This enables businesses to focus on driving innovation whilst not losing sight of the core strategic objective and not jeopardising the day-to-day business activity/deliverables.

Dr Kotter’s model refreshes and adds a new dimension to ‘thinking outside the box’, a phrase which has become so common in business parlance that it seems to be thrown into the mix every time someone is looking for a new idea. But every now and then we come across an example of thinking outside the box which adds an entirely new dimension to innovative thought processes.

The latest example comes to us thanks to a maths question answered by a six-year-old in America. To the original question, (Bobby has four dimes. Amy has 30 pennies. Which child has more money?) the boy correctly answered Bobby. All fairly straightforward; but it was the answer to the second part of the question which struck a chord. When asked to ‘show your thinking,’ rather than provide a mathematical answer the child drew a picture of thought bubbles coming out of his head.

Looking at questions in a new light, taking a refreshingly simple view; whatever your interpretation, this is a great example of how moving away from the straitjacket of conventionality and stepping outside the box can sometimes deliver amazing answers.


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