Thinking Outside The Box

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3 Responses

  1. Edith Kennedy says:

    You hit the nail on the head! Indeed, in a corporate environment, it is essential that an employee be allowed to become creative in order to think outside his/her or even the company “box”, but also it takes great leadership to accept new ideas and changes. Saying that, structure surrounding creative generation is also essential to produce useful innovation. It doesn’t help having freedom if you don’t know what to do with it. Knowing how to start is as important as understanding what is required for a viable outcome. Managers must learn to bring out the creative potential of their teams, but also provide enough guidelines to put them on the right path that will solve the most strategic problem. I would argue that structure and creativity go hand-in hand to finding a solution for a realistic problem. But first we need to create an culture of true innovation to encourage creative thinking as well as building a creative structure that ensures continuous creative dissemination. You’re right, it shouldn’t stop after the first box is created.

  2. What has been said is quite interesting, when thinking about the Stratified Systems Theory, it fits in quite good with the capability of the Theme of Work of Strategic Intent – where innovation plays a significant role in value add for the future. I however do think that in any work envirionment the different domains of work is all equal – and that innovation is not that essential in the operational domain of work, however critical in the organisational domain of work.

    Another questions that comes to mind is how does this fit in with the blue ocean strategy?

    • johanhburger says:

      Hi Tanja, thanks for the comments and question. Innovation from people at the higher SST levels are/can be quite visible. I agree. However, to state that innovation at the operational level is not essential, is a bit strong. A favorite case study of mine is Backsberg. They have optimized their whole value chain by tapping into operational innovations. Here I am referring to narrower rows for their vineyards, higher density of the vines, longer distances between the poles in the vineyard, the use of water from 1.2 – 1.5 m below the surface of the dam to cool down the winemaking process instead of electricity, to name but a few. I could go on and bore you with more examples in the field of sustainability, as well as use countless other examples at other wineries. Spier has also done great work. Do yourself the favour and visit the Sustainability Institute and Spier for great examples of innovation, at the operational level!

      As for the relevance or link between thinking outside of the box and the Blue Ocean Strategy, I am of the opinion that the BOS is about thinking outside the box – thinking beyond the borders of the current paradigm. The examples the authors use all attest to this point of view. Prof Marius Ungerer of the USB spends a whole chapter (Chapter 3) of his very good work – Viable Business Strategies – on how you can redefine the market and create new market space. All examples of thinking outside the box and in line with BOS.