Imagine my shock when told to start thinking inside the box, after years of being brainwashed to think outside the box. Even Oprah forced me to think outside the box.
I admit, I never really understood the true meaning of either one, except that thinking outside the box sounded cool, like I had a unique brain capable of thinking differently, because, dammit, my brain cells are outside thinkers, not inside thinkers.
As a volunteer at the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation, I am fortunate to listen to some famous people. Lynda Resnick, dubbed the “POM Queen,” is behind the marketing success of POM Wonderful, 100% pomegranate juice, Teleflora (the world’s largest floral-by-wire company) and FIJI Water (the leading imported bottled water brand in the United States).
Resnick spoke about how she creates memorable brands and I listened carefully to her lecture to see if any of us can apply her techniques to branding ourselves.
She asked the question: Creativity: Where does it come from? and proceeded to show us a slide of a chimpanzee with a paint brush. “Even animals can learn to paint,” she said, “but being creative, is a process.”
How can you count on creativity? “Creativity isn’t thinking outside the box, it’s thinking inside the box.” she said. She stressed that during these hard economic times, we need to focus on thinking inside the box.
Resnick’s three Gems, the pillars on which any business must be built if it hopes to grow and survive.
2)Unique selling proposition.
I shall focus on # 3, since this applies to most of us. Resnick says that most people think of Twitter and Facebook, but that they “comprise only two pieces of the social-networking puzzle. “Ning brings the picture one step closer to completion.” Many small businesses have used Ning to build social networks that are big on community and small on cost. To my fellow writers, I found a useful “she writes,” community on Ning. There are over 27 million people who joined, over the last two years.
Another service Resnick recommended, that might help some of us get feedback on a service or a product is Zoomerang and it’s free.
Resnick reminded us of the importance of “honesty” in what we do. There are 1,200 companies today giving back to the environment. Patagonia, gives 1% of its sales back to keep our planet healthy.
I found another helpful suggestion on Lynda Resnick’s blog: “If you love your product, you have to learn to give it away.” I’ve heard that mentioned over and over again, including Jerry Simmons, who has over 30 years experience in the book publishing business.
So are you an inside the box, or an outside the box thinker, and why?
I can't say I agree… I believe that we are brainwashed to think INSIDE the box. It starts at school where we learn to give the answers the teachers want or expect, where we learn to pass tests.
Later on, we think inside the box when we conform to the way others think.
The description you mention on your blog (in three steps) sounds to me like the steps of the marketing process, not the creativity process. Being creative for me would be to find exciting or different ways of achieving these steps.
For me, thinking outside the box comprises of looking at things from new angels and perspectives to find new, or innovative, ways of doing things.
I think you're right about the school system, but I have heard nothing but, "Think outside the box," since living in the U.S., therefore it came as a shock to hear Resnick say, "Think inside the box." I added something she mentioned, which was about the hard economic times we're facing which makes the need to think inside the box. As far as the marketing plan, you're right, and she did bring up creative ways of thinking for businesses, including how she developed Interflora. I wanted to focus on the personal branding though, and how, honesty, and giving back to the environment, or other ideas can help develop your brand.
Like painting outside the box frees the mind to wander and dare to create an original piece, I believe creativity can be expressed both ways. I just read a quote earlier this morning, "Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens." This can be true of many things, including creativity.
Maggie May says
I don't like being boxed at all!
I have never liked being told what to do or how to think.
It is an interesting point of view though.
Brainwashing is common in schools & over the years it goes round full circle and things that were once thrown out of the window are often adopted as THE way again. If you live long enough, you see that pattern.
Many thanks for visiting me!
Gramma Ann says
Interesting post. I don't know what kind of a thinker I am. I just enjoy life each day.
I haven't been a very good blogging buddy lately, been busy doing other things. I guess you could say I am thinking outside the box! or the computer. ; )
Thanks for your visit, and nice comment. I didn't know California didn't experience the lovely colorful leaves of Fall. What a bummer, I think autumn is the most beautiful time of the year. But every season has it's own unique beauty.
Very interesting concepts. I do think that creating inside the box, respecting the walls, the limitations, it harder than flying free out there, without regard for anything. Such an interesting post! I need to read it again.
ellen abbott says
I've never given much thought to how I think, inside or outside the box. I think outside the box must just come naturally to me as I've never fit in or gone along with the crowd, have learned to be self-reliant. When you assume you can make a living at art at an early age obviously you are thinking differently tho I didn't realize it at the time.
Thanks for visiting my blog. Stop by anytime.
I found that quote very stimulating and true. Thanks for sharing.
You are so right. What's good for you one year is terribly bad, ten years later, then ten years later, it's good for you again. Thanks for your visit.
You are right to take a break from the BOX. We should all do that more often and enjoy nature more.
Great concept of flying free out there. Thanks for stopping by.
Being artistic at a young age like you must mean you're creative and don't need to force it out.
Jill Kemerer says
How big is the box? If it's a tiny jewelry box, I'm going out! If it's a huge refrigerator box, I might stay in.
Seriously, though, I think there are two things at war in most writers: the creative side that writes and the business side that sells. We have to merge the two while keeping our sanity. No easy task.
Hi. Thanks for visiting me. This post is most interesting. It goes to the core of values in business that we have lost: love what you do and be generous.
Phivos Nicolaides says
I would agree with LadyFi about the daily brainwash in many ways…
I don't know whether I think inside the box or outside the box. I just think of every angle that comes to mind, without self-censoring. "What would happen if. . . .?" Some ideas are pretty ridiculous, but I list them anyhow.
Then I go back, look at what I've written, and think of the implications and processes. That's when some of the best ideas come out — things I hadn't considered before.
The limits of our imaginations and our self-censoring are usually the things that hold us back, whether we think inside or outside the box.
So I agree with Resnick's points:
1) Value (including quality).
2) Unique selling proposition.
And, like you, I take the third item very seriously. We live in community. And ultimately the best solutions for our problems come out of community living and discussion.
What a great visual you gave us. I agree with merging the two sides, and I am happy to say that I enjoy the marketing and promotion side, perhaps due to my former jobs.
You make a very good point. I remember when employees stayed loyal to their companies and vice versa, during my father's years, working in Paris.
Even in beautiful Greece?
Thanks for your helpful comment. Have you heard of the author Harry
Turtledove? I just heard him speak and he comes up with some wild ideas for his novels too. For example, "What if an alien force came to earth at the height of WWII."
Elizabeth Bradley says
As far as the creative process goes, for me, the actual first draft cannot be conceived inside the box. No way Jose. But, if you think about it, the re-writing and editing, and the marketing and promotion that follow involve crawling back inside the box. If you want the world to read what you wrote you have to go there. So, I guess I get what she's saying…