It happened again. We had a problem, and someone encouraged us to think outside the box. The box – the quintessential metaphor for perceived limits on the way we think and act when presented with a problem. Presumably, those limits keep us from adequately addressing increasingly complex problems and, so I’m told, we need to get out of it.
As a metaphor, “thinking outside the box” is – after years– still very much embraced. Truthfully, I’m a little weary of it. I’m also a little wary of it. Weary, because it’s cliché; but wary because it has never adequately described the problem solving process. In fact, when it comes to how we conceptualize creative thinking, it may have done more harm than good. Continue reading