When innovators talk about thinking outside the box, they mean coming up with creative ways to solve problems – new ways to look at things. How do they do it? How can you do it too? We first have to ask what the “box” is. Then we can look at how to get outside of it.
The “box” is the normal way of doing things and looking at things. It is the assumptions that almost everyone involved is making. The best way to start thinking out of the box then, is to identify and challenge all the assumptions that make up thinking inside the box.
One of the major liquor brands was faltering years ago, and they couldn’t seem to boost their sales. Promotions, lowering the price, getting better shelf placement – these were the “in the box” solutions. Then someone challenged the assumptions, by asking “What if we stopped the promotions and just raised the price?”
The price was raised as an experiment, and sales soon doubled. As it turns out, some types of liquor are bought quite often as gifts. Buyers don’t want to buy the most expensive one, but they also don’t want to seem cheap, so they...