Thinking within the box

Neha Sethi - 08.12.2019

Chances are every creative person has heard, read, or said “think-outside-the-box” at least once in their lives. In the last 2 decades, thinking outside-the-box has become the holy grail of problem solving and a powerful mantra which once chanted would instantly turn up your creativity. Well, guess what, being creative is not that easy and chanting the slogan does not turn on everyone’s creativity! Outside-the-box thinking is overrated and does not work for marketers who constantly battle the limitations of budget, size, location and brand guidelines, to name a few.

The greatest inspiration is the deadline!

As marketers, we often complain about lack of time for ideation. Yet, some of the best ideas come to fore only when pressed against a deadline, with our creative horses running wild, within the scope defined by the client. I believe, it is extremely important for all of us to train our brains to explore life inside the box, to welcome limitations and allow them to present solutions, helping us be creative. And this thought is not limited to any industry or function; different functions across banks, airlines and even security firms around the world, have invented innovative technology to improve their products & procedures while adhering to these constraints.

Having worked with creative companies, clients, and people over the last few years, I have realized that best innovation is born out of a constraint. Constraints are extremely effective in generating new thinking. As humans, we showcase our best talents while solving problems. These problems enable people, even non-creative people, to draw from their wells of creativity.

Driving innovation out of a constraint

With constant constraints pushing your creativity in a box, isn’t ‘Thinking-inside-the-box’ a better idea? The key is to not let your creativity fly without any reins, instead, restrict in a box– think differently about it.

Ever watched children play with a box or a Lego set? Their imaginative minds can convert it into a spaceship, a Ferrari, an army tank, and even a fighter jet. These are just variations of stacking boxes, and the lack of options unleashes the power of creativity. Maybe we still have that imagination, hidden in our subconscious mind, waiting to be rediscovered.

The point is, life will hand you boxes, but every box brings an opportunity to explore and push your creativity a little further each time. It all really boils down to how you think differently about it.

We often hear ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, I’d say “limitation is the mother of creativity”. 


By Neha Sethi, SVP at Teleperformance in India

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