Ins and outs of “The Box”

Everybody’s worked with an evangelist for “thinking outside the box.” I love ’em all. But all too often the outside-the-box folks come up with terrific, visionary, world-shaking  ideas … and that’s it.

The revolutionary idea impresses everyone in the meeting. Then the proud visionary leaves the room with a “make-it-happen” directive that drops like a grenade among the unfortunates who must implement it.

Can’t help but admire the “mad scientists” and big thinkers. Where would we be without them?

But clever ideas are nothing without the heavy-lifting required to implement them. In a more perfect world, the visionary would stick around long enough to help dope out the real world details of turning a brilliant idea into an exciting, well-planned, well-executed replicable and sustainable solution.
At a grant-writing seminar the other day, a presenter summed it up nicely. “Don’t just think outside the box,” he said. “Make the box bigger.”

One response to “Ins and outs of “The Box”

  1. I hear you on the score of big idea people, and agree they can be poor about their follow-up on getting the job done. My own blog deals with concerns in education and how we can make positive change, so of course my thoughts drifted to education on this topic. I wonder if those people with the big ideas were never encouraged to make them happen, but were instead expected to tow the line and get the worksheet completed in school? Let’s face it: originality is not seen as a strength in school, even though it’s expected in certain work environments. If we don’t learn it growing up, it’s not easy to figure out how to execute when you’re an untried adult. I have no basis in fact for this idea, and I have no plans to carry it any further. Just so you know.

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