You’ve all heard the cliché, “Think Outside the Box.”
It’s often used to try to spark originality, unfettered thinking and a fresh perspective from creative, marketing and business teams.
Sometimes the expression is followed with more expressions to rally teams, such as “Get Out of Your Comfort Zone” or “Sky’s the Limit.”
The motivation behind these expressions can be innocent, often with the intentions to free minds to explore a breadth of never seen before ideas that arrive at something truly breakthrough – something “Outside the Box.”
It’s intended to be freeing to have no limitations, a pursuit without boundaries, but is this the best way to arrive at the best ideas to solve business problems?
In reality, “Thinking Outside the Box” only works with specificity, defined parameters and objectives.
I’ve never met a creative or strategist at any point in their career that didn’t want a few rules to play by to get started – call it a set of criteria, something to solve to, a north star.
Rules establish the tone of the creative pursuit – what can and can’t be done. Everyone should know the rules and once they are defined, then you can break them – but only with purpose and reason, not just because.
Take the time with your team to define objectives, desired outcomes and success indicators at the onset of endeavors, whatever they may be. It may be tempting to start without them to save time, but it may cost you more than that in the end.
Objectives influence the filters developed when evaluating creative work in progress. Objectives help pinpoint the target and bring focus. Plus you’ll be more likely to arrive at ideas that can be implemented, versus having to scale back the parts that made them good in the first place because you started off without all the information.
Let’s start there.