Tuesday, September 27, 2011

There is nothing as “Out of Box " thinking!

It was one of those times when you subtly try to impress your company by your “out of box” thinking and end up making fool of yourself, just to make the matter worse this time the company was too smart to see my attempts inside out and very brutally dismissed it all! But the good thing that came out of the entire drama was an intriguing discussion on what exactly is “out of box” thinking.  If we are not born with that sort of intellect is there any scope that we can get it/ learn it from somewhere.

The discussion started with the generic interpretation of intellect, not many of us will deny that the guy who scored maximum in school exams was the one who was tagged as “Intellectual” and we complacently believed it. Since then our mind has made this as a boxed definition, a pattern of what being an “Intellectual” mean.

Second point that was discussed was “When do you practice thinking?” I was anyways not very comfortable with the question, why the hell do I have to practice thinking it’s just a means by which you try to sort out your problems, isn’t it? I remember ever since I appended startups as my area of interest I am trying to find out problems that my amazing idea can sort out for people and hence make money from it, I am restlessly trying to excavate problems just to come out with a good business idea. Although back in my mind the initial idea behind Twitter did distract me sometimes thinking as to what problem did it sort and why did it even start. Anyways getting back to the point I answered I practice thinking to solve a problem. I thought that was the most concise and clear reply I could give for this question but to my surprise he (company) laughed and declared “I can never think Out of Box”. Honestly that really hit me considering already I was deeply saddened by the absence of Chocó brownie missing on my plate which he ate while I was trying to think.

What I realized is that my mind has boxed thinking as mere “Problem solving technique”, it may be because we never had Thinking as a subject in our school/college etc... And we always practiced it while we are on some issue which

1.       Needed urgent attention

2.      Promised immediate gratification if solved successfully.

So in our day to day practice we try to gather information around the problem and try to eliminate the patterns which are new to our mind and choose the solution that best fits the pattern already set in our mind through our past experiences, knowledge or previously locked assumptions. We very graciously eliminate any new assumption and thus bolt our self in the existing dominant patterns/boxes. However Thinking in reality has many facet to it, problem solving is just one plot where we practice it extensively.

 In order to make an “Out of Box” statement you have to carve out your own BOX first. We very often misjudge creativity with randomness/chances but I was surprised to discover creativity can also be constructively practiced with various design models (Six Thinking Hats/ CORT method), it involves change in perception, taking risks, provocation.  Horizontal thinking implies our dream stage and vertical stage implies the methodical implementation/execution stage, design thinking lies in between these stages.

So I guess Twitter was not launched to solve any problem it was launched to experiment one of these newly designed boxes (different medium of communication) and all the risks paid off today. As for my restless mind I got some respite in the fact that I can stop identifying JUST the problem to start and try practicing to carve a NEW BOX J.


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