Thu, 8 Jul 2010 09:00:28
Thinking outside the box (sometimes erroneously called "thinking out of the box" or "thinking outside the square") is to think differently, unconventionally or from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel, creative and smart thinking.
This is sometimes called a process of lateral thought. The catchphrase, or cliché, has become widely used in business environments, especially by management consultants and executive coaches, and has spawned a number of advertising slogans. To think outside the box is to look further and try not to think of the obvious things, but try and think beyond that.
A simplified definition for paradigm is a habit of reasoning or a conceptual framework.
A simplified analogy is "the box" in the commonly used phrase "thinking outside the box". What is encompassed by the words "inside the box" becomes analogous with what we know or what we assume.
Conservationist Lawrence Anthony acknowledges and rejects the paradigm analogy. He argues "I have never understood the saying 'To think outside the box.' Why would anyone sit inside of a box and then think outside of it. Rather just get out of the box."