Here’s a Twist: Grow ‘Inside the Box’


Has anyone ever told you to start thinking “outside the box”? There’s a common mentality in leadership that all great ideas come from thinking outside the box. When it comes to solving problems or creating new ideas, most of us have been told to think about ideas that are outside the norm. While I’m all about considering and creating new and innovative ideas, I read a post the other day that has me questioning whether thinking “outside the box” is such a great idea.

Recently, Justin Lathrop shared a post that encouraged people to “stop thinking outside the box.” In the post, Justin shared something from Catalyst Conference that got him to reconsider that common phrase:

Innovation comes from ‘thinking inside the box’; believing God has given you everything you need despite constraints.” —Bobby Gruenewald

As Justin compared the ideas of thinking “outside the box” and “inside the box,” I couldn’t help but wonder how we could take this advice and use it to our advantage. So here are five steps to help us grow by seeking out innovative opportunities in our current situation, right “inside the box”:

  • Step #1: Trust that God has given you everything you need.
  • Step #2: Identify a problem that frustrates you.
  • Step #3: Write down five ways you could solve it with the resources you’ve been given. Instead of focusing on your weaknesses (or what you don’t have), focus on your strengths (or what you do have) and how you can use them to improve the situation.
  • Step #4: Make a plan to solve the problem, identifying the constraints that could prevent you from succeeding.
  • Step #5: Work the plan. Solve the problem. Gain the confidence you need to continue to think “inside the box” for your next innovative idea.

What do you think about Bobby’s idea of thinking “inside the box”? Have you adopted it in the way you solve problems or create ideas?