Weekend In My Mind

Thinking Outside The Box – Its more Than Just a Buzzword

When innovators talk about thinking outside the box, they’re actually referring to innovative methods of looking at challenges and solving them.

How do they manage to do it?

How do you think you’ll be able to do it as well? Well, we must first determine what the “box” is. Then we’ll figure out how to get out of it.

The “box” represents the traditional method of doing things and seeing things. It’s the underlying assumptions that practically everyone is making. Identifying and challenging all of the assumptions that go into thinking inside the box is actually the most effective way to start thinking outside the box.

Years ago, one of the main liquor brands was struggling, and they couldn’t seem to raise sales no matter what they did. Promotions, price reductions, and better shelf positioning were all “in the box” options. “What if we canceled the promotions and just raised the price?” someone suggested, challenging the preconceptions. Of course, this was met with a lot of skepticism. After all who wants to pay more for something?!

However, as an experiment, the price was raised, and sales quickly doubled. Wow, no one was expecting that.

As it turns out, some types of booze are frequently purchased as gifts.

Buyers do not want to buy the most expensive item, but they also do not want to appear cheap and so, they will not purchase things that are too inexpensive. Consider what happens to your profit margins if you double your sales while raising the price. That is the power of unconventional thinking.

Extraordinary Ways To Think Outside The Box

Challenging assumptions is a great way to come up with new ways to solve problems. Identifying the assumptions is the tricky part. If you’re creating a new motorcycle, make a list of assumptions like “speed is important,” “it has to run on gas,” and “it requires two wheels,” not because you anticipate being proven wrong, but because testing these assumptions can lead to new creative possibilities. Perhaps the time has come for a three-wheeled electric motorcycle.

“Assume the ludicrous” is another technique to come up with inventive answers. Depending on how open-minded you are, this can be entertaining or irritating. All you have to do is start creating ridiculous assumptions and then figure out how to make sense of them. Asking “what if” is the simplest method to do it.

What if a carpet cleaning company would do better with half the number of customers? It may appear ludicrous but bear with me on this one.

Perhaps it would be less stressful for the owner and staff. If each consumer was worth three times as much, it would be more profitable.

Is that something you can do? Commercial jobs in large, easy-to-clean spaces (theatres, offices, convention halls) pay more per hour than residential tasks, and they come with fewer headaches. Concentrating on obtaining such accounts could be the most rewarding course of action – not that far-fetched.

Another technique to generate more new ideas is to think beyond the box. Getting out of the house or the office is a good idea. Take a look around and see what other people are doing.

On Ecuadorian buses, for example, salespeople place a product in everyone’s hands and let them handle it while giving a sales pitch. Then you must either return or pay for “your” stuff.

It’s quite effective.

What are some ways you may apply the theory to your business?

One of the most effective ways to think outside the box is to employ mindfulness techniques. Ever heard of them? No? Good, let’s take a quick look.

Basic mindfulness exercises help you achieve a level of awareness in which you can let go of distractions and use your mind’s power more efficiently. They assist you in thinking more clearly and concentrating more effectively. They’re also simple to carry out.

Sitting down, relaxing, and breathing deeply through your nose are the first steps in a basic mindfulness exercise. Close your eyes and focus on your inhale and exhale. After a minute, turn your attention to your body, one section at a moment, noting any chilly, hot, tight, aching, or other sensations that come to mind. Start listening to sounds in the room without thinking about them in a few minutes. Just pay attention.

Open your eyes and glance about as though you’re seeing things for the first time when it feels correct. Focus your gaze on an object for half a minute, inspecting it without thinking about it. Then move on to another object, and another, all the while keeping your body, breathing, and any sounds in mind. Stay in this conscious mindset until you’re ready to stand up.

You are more fully “in the now” when you are aware of your body, breath, and immediate surroundings. There are fewer mental distractions that inhibit clear thought, and your mind is in a particularly receptive state. Preparing for essential mental activities with mindfulness practice will provide you with more mental power, notably better attention and concentration.

A Super Simple Yet Effective Mindfulness Technique

Try this one today: When you’re stressed, take a moment to stop and observe yourself to see what’s upsetting you. Maybe you’re expecting something horrible to happen, or you’re having a debate in your head, or you’re anxious about something, or you’re in pain in some way. Make a list of everything you come across.

Then address these mental irritants. Make a phone call you’ve been thinking about, take an aspirin, and apologize to the person you were fighting with. To get things off your mind, write them down on your to-do list for tomorrow. Tell yourself that there’s nothing you can do right now. You’ll feel less anxious and better able to focus on the tasks at hand if you do this exercise. Today you’ll have increased mental strength.

So, there you have it. Hopefully, this article has given you some inspiration to think outside the box and, at the same time become more effective by deploying mindfulness techniques. Good luck.

 

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