Metaphor... or Against?

Joyce Wycoff, cofounder of the InnovationNetwork, has kicked off an effort to replace the phrase "think outside the box."

Do you think it needs to go? What do you think people should use instead?

[via Innovation Weblog]

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10 Comments

  • jannyla

    I think, therefore I am. It used to be "outside of the box" was reserved for the truly innovative, now the bandwagon is so full of self-professed "trailblazers" that a simple double knot when tying a shoe is worthy of mention. Now, I just think.

  • mr. sun

    Outsourcing to Neverland, Boarding the Bipolar Express, Brainstorming with Brother Onan, Following faith-based management, and and more.

  • David Blakely

    As long as we don't forget the box, it still works along with the question "why the box?". We have to consider where we are to go somewhere else.

  • aureliano garcia

    Screw the box!. From the moment there is a box to make a reference, the box should be gone immediatly. The box is our own paradigms and self limitations. The phrase shall dissapear and all of us should move on to better topics.

  • cole scego

    "ughh, I think outside of the box." It must be what our "higher institutions of learning" tell you to list as one of your qualities on any job resume. I have met some very innovative people in my 24 years on this earth, none of them have described themselves as thinking outside of the box. If the "box" exists, it must be what is currently known or implemented in any procedure. Outside of the "box" is the unknown. Those who invent solve a problem. It's simple, any innovation is a solution to a problem. You must use the contents of the "box" to solve a problem, hence, someone who thinks outside of the box cannot be innovative. Everyone is contained within the box, some eat what they are fed and some collect known information and create better food for themselves. I vote to throw this trite expression out of the box.

  • Anonymous

    Change for the sake of change is rarely productive, I agree. But if the "out of the box" concept (or any other concept for that matter) feels tired and rundown, and that feeling is affecting how you feel about your thought processes, then I don't think it hurts to ponder different ways of looking at thinking. If a new term is what you need to give your thinking a kick in the pants... then GO FOR IT!

  • Jeffrey Cufaude

    I agree with Jack. This is an exercise not worth doing. Every metaphor has limitations. In this case, use think outside the box for what it's worth, talk about its shortcomings, and then introduce the additional meaning we might want others to consider.

  • Jack Quinn

    This is like spending time and research on discovering how a Venus Flytrap snaps up its prey quicker than an eye-blink (a true story). Now that most of us grasp the metaphor "think outside the box" it's probably best not to confuse us. Think of what would happen if we changed words for the sake of change, words like and, for, why and home. Suppose we were all home-less? Specific need is the inventor of practical new-speak. No need to change the old reliables; you can get the attention you want by their skillful use. Yes, more language skill is what need. That would be an innovation. Come to think of it, maybe we should invent something new for "innovation" and "network"? Okay, okay, just having fun.