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Tuesday, 28 February 2017


What is it about the “thinking outside the box” people?

Like a lot of business managers, I have been to many meetings and conferences, and been in conversation with colleagues and bosses about life, the universe, everything and all the bs in between.  More often than not, someone will say eventually:  “It’s not rocket science” or “let’s think outside the box”.  It is the latter expression that intrigues me. 

Who owned the first box and who was the first thinker outside of it? What was in the box before it was an empty box that we could climb into, get a mental block and then get out of it to think things through?  When was the decision made to get in and out of a box as a process of contemplation? What happened to the original thinker’s box? When did thinking inside the box become such an untrendy thing to do?  We hear this “outside the box” stuff so often that is has become pretty meaningless, rather like that rocket science blah.  If we all thought outside the box, some guru would start to encourage us to do the opposite.  

We never seem to elaborate on the “think tank” idea by suggesting that people should think outside of the tank, do we?  If we had our thinking cap on, no one suggests we think with the cap off.  The inventor of exterior box thinking thought he was onto something and I wonder if he ever considered thinking about his invention inside or outside of another receptacle altogether – a bin, a carton, a crate, a chest, a basket, a hamper, a cauldron, etc, etc.

To take it to extremes, what about a tropical fish thinking outside the aquarium, or a dog thinking outside the kennel, or a bird thinking outside the nest, or an undertaker thinking outside the coffin or a window cleaner thinking outside the bucket? Okay, I’ll stop this nonsense.

Let’s get rid of the box and just, er, think inside our heads!

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