How often in your meetings or workplace do you hear someone say, “We really need to start thinking more Outside the Box”?


It’s become such a business and innovation cliché over the years that the statement almost feels useless and redundant. In fact many times the statement is a sign of the hopeless state an organization has found itself when it comes to being on the leading edge.


What’s interesting is if you look at some of the most innovative companies over the past few years like “Uber” or “Dollar Shave Club” they weren’t thinking “Outside the Box” but rather figuring out how to do some really amazing work while staying Inside the box!


Think about both of these companies for one minute. They didn’t really invent anything new. All they did was take the amazing infrastructure that truly innovative organizations have put together and spent billions to perfect and then figure out how to use it to their advantage.


Just like the massive interstate highway system constructed in the United States in the 50’s that linked every state together and really opened the doors for commercial goods and personal travel to everybody. The Internet has done the same thing on a global scale.


Uber didn’t invent the need for a more efficient means of transportation, they just connected the dots and used what was already obvious. Millions of cars sitting parked in lots and driveways, people looking for a flexible job or some extra money, and a huge need for reliable transportation especially in underserved markets from an antiquated taxi system.


Uber didn’t invent GPS technology, smartphones or PayPal either, which by the way were all created by truly innovative outside the box thinking organizations. But Uber sure figured out how to use them efficiently by thinking Inside the Box.


Dollar Shave Club didn’t invent high quality razors, they just couldn’t understand why someone would pay 10$ for a razor and then 40$ more for replacement blades and have to drive to the store to get them. Why not use the internet, global manufacturing and cheap shipping rates to make better razors, deliver them to your door, oh and by the way all at a much cheaper cost than Schick or Gillette.


Neither of these companies and many other successful innovative organizations are building rockets to transport people to Mars. Instead they have focused their energy and resources by thinking and winning Inside the Box.


Successful organizations like Uber and Dollar Shave Club have caused us all to rethink innovation and what it really means to start thinking outside the box, and it starts by doing things a lot better inside the box that’s already been created and paid for.


Success in the New Normal can start today by simply identifying the need, utilizing the amazing tools already available, and figuring out the best way to fill it.

That’s what we can inside the box thinking.


Ask yourself this week:


What does innovation look like in my organization?


Where can we take our existing products and services and repackage them to serve a need?


How do we compete in the New Normal?


Where do I need to start thinking back inside the box?



Thoughts for the week:


Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things. – Theodore Levitt


Innovation is taking two things that already exist and putting them together in a new way. – Tom Freston


Innovation is change that unlocks new value. –Jamie Notter


You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. – Unknown


We cannot solve a problem by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. – Albert Einstein


It always seems impossible until it’s done. – Nelson Mandela



Looking forward to our next conversation