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Thinking Outside the [Normal] Box

A lot of us are analytical thinkers: we work out how to produce a part or refurb something or design a new production line. Those step-by-step operations need that sort of thinking. But a lot of problems require a different approach, looking for different kinds of resources and different ways of getting to the result. Like...

  • The professor who allows infants in the classroom for single parents, and held someone’s crying baby while lecturing.

  • Hiring high-school students for cleaning, organization and other entry-level tasks so machinists and assemblers aren’t side-tracked; then letting them learn the trade if they are interested.

  • Transitioning to flex hours or even days for employees, though it could mean more training, and definitely more trust.

Hearing about employees’ heart concerns and donating to those causes, or setting up an employee-donation fund (which could include aluminum-can recycling money or similar).

How do we think in new ways? Here are a few ideas:

  • Take a risk.

  • Play.

  • Ask “Why” daily.

  • Get large numbers of ideas, and choose the best.

  • Daydream. Ask “why not?”.

For much more on creative thinking, see


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