Thinking Differently: Why Thinking Outside the Box is for Squares

Thinking Differently: Why Thinking Outside the Box is for Squares

March 28

Innovation is an odd thing. I’ve been laughed at, or at least been given sideways glances for my crazy ideas, though some of them have actually been taken by others and made into a reality. The most recent “wacky idea” was for subscription-based pants. And guess what? There’s a service that does that already. Well, kind of.

Members of the Trunk Club get access to their very own stylists that hand-select clothes to fit their specific tastes and measurements. The service then sends them a trunk full of these hand-picked clothes, which they try on and only pay for what they like, while returning the rest for free. According to an article on, the service caters to professional men aged between 25 and 50 with an annual income of more than six figures. Evidently my idea, or one very much like it, is on track to make the Trunk Club upwards of $45 million dollars this year, and here I am sitting on my hands, or rather, smacking them against a keyboard.

Really, the thought this rant should plant is that somebody somewhere might already be making money from the great idea you have, whether it’s a thoughtful way of running an MSP business, a smart-phone app, or a crazy-yet-plausible business idea like pet funeral services. The world is so big that innovators are hiding under every corner, and their awesome ideas can easily be funded by crowd-sourcing websites like Kickstarter or just implemented the old-fashioned way. So what does that say for innovation in the 21st century? To me it says that it’s never been easier, but at the same time there are a hundred other people working towards the same dream you might be quietly sitting on.

What’s the thing to do? Start working towards it. And don’t be afraid to adapt your ideas as you go and be sure to learn from other great innovators like Larry Page, Steve Jobs, or Ray Kurzweil. You can learn a lot from watching the best.

And while you’re working towards your ideas and dreams, don’t forget that nowadays thinking outside the box is no longer innovative, it’s commonplace. Who doesn’t try to think outside the box? Everyone else can enjoy sitting outside of their boxes with thousands of others, but we’ll be hanging inside a sphere or around a hexagon, or maybe we’ll just get to work instead of worrying about our juxtapositions to geometric shapes. At the end of the day, you need to get out there, sell those pants, and work towards having a great answer to the question, what’s the most innovative thing you’ve done this week?

Once you have that, you’ll know you’re on the right track. 

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons