Are you someone who is constantly “Thinking out of the box?” Is your organization known for “Out of the Box” thinking and innovation? Why? Do simple re-conformations and incremental improvements represent “breakthroughs”? How often do genuine “breakthroughs” occur, anyway? While you’re pondering that, has anyone realized what the “Box” actually IS?
You know what Russian dolls are, of course. I’m talking about the nesting ones, where you have doll-within-doll-within-doll. Does your “Out-of-the-box” thinking represent something like nesting Russian dolls? Out of one smaller doll into another slightly bigger doll. And then into another slightly bigger doll, and so on. We tend to think of “breakthrough” events as though someone threw an almighty punch at a brick wall and broke a hole through it. Seldom do we realize that, very often, before that, a lot of small chipping and knocking had already been done before that seemingly awesome knockout punch was delivered! Now, I am not disputing the fact that genuine breakthroughs occur, because they do, of course. What I do object to is attributing the terms “breakthrough” or “out-of-the-box” to any hapless incremental improvement that can be made to look like one. Einstein and Heisenberg were breakthrough thinkers in their field. So was Edward Jenner. So was Isaac Newton. So was China’s Deng Xiao Ping. So was the breaking of the four-minute mile.
I’ve shared previously about having to make consistent incremental improvements before we become ready for genuine “quantum” leaps. We need to recognize those small incremental improvements for what they are and that they prepare us for the next big leap, the next “S” curve, the next whatever it is someone is waiting to throw up at us.
So, are you “thinking-out-of-the-box” into another similar but slightly bigger box? No need to call it a “breakthrough” event! Keep improving until you are ready for your next genuine “breakthrough”. Go for it!