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Thinking Inside the Box

Thinking outside the box. We’ve all heard that phrase before, especially those of us in the creative fields. Is it always a good idea though? In the marketing world creative ideas are the fuel that runs the engine. Encouraging your team to develop new ideas without limited constraints can often hinder creativity, according to Stephen Shapiro, author of Best Practices Are Stupid: 40 Ways to Out-Innovate the Competition. Instead of letting ideas run rampant without constraints, you should be providing a structure from which to build. “If asked to develop a new idea from scratch or with limited constraints, the creativity generated is less than if structure is provided,” says Shapiro. Shapiro adds “The objective with the ‘better box’ is to define a challenge or question that is not overly broad, yet is not too specific. I call this the Goldilocks principle. You want to define challenges that are ‘just right,'” he says. “By providing them with well defined parameters, you will increase the creative output.”