It looks so simple to come up with breakthrough idea by forcing original connection like Jobs did (find related article here).

So why only few people actually can do it? Why the majority is not able to see and implement these connections?

First day of elementary school

Everything started when you entered the classroom on your first day of elementary school


Can you remember how your education process was organized and how every day at school looked like?

8:00 – Math

8:45 – break 10 min

8:55 – History

9:40 – break 10 min

9:50 – Music

9:35 – break15 min

9:50 – Science


You have first lesson with expert-teacher, books dedicated for this subject. Then … break and … again next subject, next teacher specialized only in this one particular domain, notebook and books you open and close only when you want to learn this subject. And … again … again for days, weeks, months, years, decades you learned how to open thinking box, close it and keep separated from other boxes.

If we could use thinking-box analogy to map this process out  this is how it would look like:

article 2 graphic

Starting from school (are of 6 years old) we’ve been forced and teach to think in separated boxes, not to mix them! You went from Math to  History, Music to Science every time changing the box and closing it after you finished lesson. Nobody even told you can mix them and gave you opportunity to do it. Why?

Your boss is paying you money for being uncreative

The in-box thinking is actually what industry is used to look for. Companies need specialized people who will do their job for whole their life,  serve to corporation and don’t ask questions. On the other hand after your parents and you invest a lot of time and money in your education, you will look for a job in what you’ve been educated to make return on this investment . Your plan is find the job – box where boss will pay you. Finally you found it! Year after year you explore this domain and more and more you do it only for money, because this box doesn’t make you happy any more. You make less and less improvements in scope of that particular box, as you get used to it and there is nothing what can surprisedyou. The only what actually keeps you there are money you receive for thinking in that particular box. Therefore pursuing job only for money earlier or later will kill your creative approach and you will burn you out. As soon you will quit this job, your boss will find someone else who is specialized as you ware and will pay him for and staying in that box and repeating same job you did.

How can we now expect people in business to be creative and think out-of-box when nobody helped them to learn this skill and corporate model actually pays for being uncreative?  To understand the problem better, look on how companies are organized. There are separated, specialized departments … Sales, Finance, HR, R&D, Logistics, Marketing etc.   just like subjects at school and thinking boxes I used to visualise the process.  After graduated university you are again placed in box, assigned to specialized department of company and repeat the thinking style you’ve been practicing during education.

Thinking in scope of one box can result only in marginal improvements

Do you now see the reason why it is so difficult especially for employees and hired managers to come up with original, accurate, simply great solutions? Nobody has ever showed them how to do it so they kept looking for solution to narrow it and struggle with new challenges producing only marginal improvements.

How to change it?

More and more companies become aware that creativity is essential skill not only to win the competition but actually to survive on market. They expect their best people to think out-of-box. Industry changed but the education system is still based on old assumptions, so you have to unleash your creative thinking by yourself.

Don’t let yourself to stay for longer time only in one box! If your job is more reproductive than creative, remember to keep on proactively looking and creating opportunities for new assignments for you that let you explore new domains both professionally and after hours. Visit places you would never visit, talk to people you would never talk… all this activities will bring fresh inspirations for you and will be like fuel for your creative mind.

To create breakthrough, new, accurate idea you have to mix your box with another not obviously related.

The good news is that you can learn and practice out-of-box thinking so easily like you learned –in-box thinking.

In next article I will present an example how you can take almost every opportunity during your day to day life to practice creative genius thinking and become expert in out-of-box thinking.

Tomek Bakowski

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Infographic article 2 Domi (1)