The one-sentence summary
If you want to think in new boxes, doubt everything, probe the possible, diverge, converge, and then re-evaluate relentlessly.
WHAT THE BOOK SAYS
- Thinking ‘outside the box’ isn’t the answer. True ingenuity needs structure, hard analysis, and bold brainstorming.
- That means thinking in new boxes. A box is a mental model –a construction that exists purely within you, and which dictates how you view the world.
- Inductive thinking involves moving from observed fragmented details to a connected view, a binding principle, hypothesis, or box.
- Deductive thinking involves applying such a framework to observed details to see if the box has the capacity to interpret them. Logic is the science of deduction.
- A Eureka moment is when you suddenly realise how to shift your perception.
- A Caramba moment is when you realise one or more of your boxes (set of assumptions) are out of date. (A Spanish expression of surprise).
- Re-examine your approach to business creativity in five steps:
1. Doubt everything: Challenge your current perspectives.
2. Probe the possible: Explore the options around you.
3. Diverge: Generate many new and exciting ideas, even if they seem absurd.
4. Converge: Evaluate and select ideas that will drive breakthrough results.
5. Re-evaluate: relentlessly. No idea is good forever.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- To get the process rolling you need to create a climate of doubt, list and then challenge your current boxes, and set out a new set of boxes to investigate. Conduct a beliefs audit:
- What are the inherent assumptions in your day-to-day work?
- What has your organisation never feared that could destroy it?
- If your company didn’t exist, what difference would it make?
- Prospective thinking asks: What might or could happen? What should I do about it?
- Boiling frogs are evolving situations that are slow and subtle (named after the spurious notion that a frog will fail to leap out of a boiling pot if the temperature is raised very gradually).
- Describe your company or product using 5 words. Now try doing it without those words. You may create a new box.
- “Yes and…” is productive. “Yes but…” is not.
- “The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.” Linus Pauling
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- There is a recurring and somewhat annoying mythical company called Ultragames that keeps being used as a working example.
- The authors are from Boston Consulting Group, so there is an element of ‘brochure’ here.