Friday, 18 November 2011

Out Of The Box

Thinking "outside the box" or sometimes called "outside the lines of color" is a popular idea in today's business. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to think outside the box or outside colored lines as a means to stimulate creativity when they need to solve problems like streamlining production, establishing a new product or develop a new process. It is true that creativity and innovation are often unexpected and unconventional thinking.

But there is a serious problem with trying to apply such thinking too broadly.

For example, creativity is appreciated art and advertising, but not in the banking and accounting. Independent auditors recently released an ad suggesting that you might think "outside the box." Do you really want your business associated with creative accounting? Reviewers should not have put the numbers in the right box? It is not creative accounting a serious problem for Enron?

In reality, clear thinking and creativity that it produces are rarely a matter of thinking outside the box. And color outside the lines are for the most part just sloppy work. The art of clear thinking is a matter of putting thoughts into the right boxes or categories. Clear thinking is a matter of mental organization. Conversely, sloppy thinking involves the confusion of categories, to put ideas in the wrong boxes or not putting them in order at all. Is a child who will not correct her room creative or just sloppy? There is a significant difference. While creativity sometimes seems sloppy to an outside observer, it does not matter of neglect.

Picasso was a creative artist.

But his creativity was not the art it produces. In fact, his abstract work is technically sloppy. It looks like the work of a child. Picasso could sell his abstract art only because he has established himself as an artist who could color inside the lines very well. Had he not first proven his artistic talent in the traditional way, his abstract art was worth much less. He used his reputation as a traditional artist to establish a new direction in art. He did not so much the color of the box where he expanded the boundaries and definition of the box. But the fact is that his abstract creations were valuable only because of its proven expertise in traditional art.

Contrast to their efforts to create myself an abstract artist. My art is missed, because I have not been able to prove myself as a traditional artist. Not that I actually tried to do it, but I use as an example to make a point. Creativity is a new idea requires discipline, order and structure of their value. Picasso's art is valuable, because he was a talented painter who intentionally colored outside the lines. My art is not important, because I did not make a painter and I accidentally color outside the lines. Although the two products are similar, but the difference is crucial.

Creativity is more than just break the rules.

Similarly, Joseph capable of breaking the rules of English grammar in his book Heller, something happened (Scribner, 1974), only because he was familiar with them. Having taught English at the University of South Carolina, he was a master of grammar. And just out of his expertise could he creatively exploit, expand and redefine the boundaries of grammar. And so it is with regard to thinking outside the box.

Thinking outside the box, besides being able to think inside the box has no value.

This idea is just sloppy. So the suggestion that creativity is the ability to think outside the box is mostly nonsense. Creativity questions on the ability talent, and discipline. Talent was forged on the anvil-shaped, and the discipline to develop skills. Great ability is always the result of study, discipline and practice.

Creativity is more a matter of seeing that the boxes themselves are inadequate and suggest a better deal or a better definition. Creativity does not simply reject the boxes, it redefines and / or after they have been grouped in close contact with their families. Real creativity is always a fruit-discipline and order. Creativity, to be truly creative, and not just sloppy disorganization, must arise out of discipline and order of deliberate effort.

While a creative idea often comes spontaneously to unexpected places, it requires discipline, study and do something. Outside the discipline and order, what passes for creativity is nonsense, and actually suggest otherwise undermines and / or weakens the creative process.

What does this mean for our industry? Retailers and suppliers should apply themselves to master the basics before attempting to break the rules in the name of creativity. You can not think outside the box. First, establish your ability to think inside the box. Master the rules before you suggest breaking them. For example, before a distributor has a wild, innovative concept to a client for a campaign, it must first establish its expertise with campaigns and / or ideas that have a reputation for providing good investment returns. Designers, artists and writers should establish their mastery copy of the base before experimenting outside the box. For the most important thing in the box.