Book – Thinking in New Boxes: A New Paradigm for Business Creativity

boxesVery insightful book that forces a reader (or a listener ūüėČ ) to start thinking… differently. ¬†The main premise of the book is an idea that human thinking is compartmentalized, but to start thinking differently, we need not to “get out of the box,” but rather define different boxes where the new concepts can find home. ¬† Executive Summary PDF is available on the book site.

The authors suggest five steps to expand “thinking boxes”:

  1. Doubt everything
  2. Probe the possible (evaluate industry trend and define what the company would want to address – pose the questions)
  3. Diverge (create many ideas on possible solutions)
  4. Converge (chose ideas to follow)
  5. Reevaluate relentlessly


Interesting points from the book:

  • What is your organization never feared that can destroy it over next five years?
  • What is your organization never feared and can be an asset within next five years?
  • questionForklift company: ¬†original objective is concentrating on quality of … forklifts ūüôā ¬†Change resulted in focusing on marketing. ¬†Market research indicated that customers want to be comfortable, to know that everything is under control. ¬†Strategy change – make client experience better an invest in customer service.
  • Interesting customer segment “low income PhDs”
  • Interesting exercise: ¬†describe your company without top five keywords (example of the bank “we help people to protect their piece of mind” )
  • Solar company: current process – pay upfront and wait for an unclear return. ¬†Why not allow people to lease – solar company owns the panels on the roof and maintains them – the people get power bill reduction of some percentage right away.
  • Each hour sun gives our planet enough energy to power all human activities for a year… ¬†we just need to learn how to use it…
  • What headlines about your company can appear in unrelated magazines in 5-10 years? ¬†Lifestyle magazines? ¬†Technical magazines? ¬†Psychology today? ¬†Moscow times?
  • Do you think five year from now you will need to pay for Google search? ¬†Most people would say no. ¬†If the question is changed: suppose five years from now you have to pay for Google search – how did it happen? ¬† Now people can give variety of reasons (extreme scarcity of power… ¬†a new advanced “premium” algorithm, etc. ¬†)

How to generate scenarios:

  1. Trends – long term industry trends
  2. Wild card and extreme possibilities – very unlikely but very impactful events (US is split into two parts, volcano ash prevents air travel in the certain region, etc.)
  3. Variables – real life situations where the mega trends plays out
  4. Hypothesis: what can happen in plausible scenarios – encourage to create 4 hypothesis for each variable.