Why Thinking Outside the Box is Useless


One of my favorite expression is “there is no truth outside yourself”. We need to realize that everything we see in the world is viewed through our own point of view. What is the implications of that positively and negatively for your business?

On the Small Business Radio Show this week, Kenneth Cukier is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author. He is a Senior Editor at The Economist and host of its weekly tech podcast. His book “Big Data” with Viktor Mayer-Schönberger was a New York Times bestseller. Ken has coauthored a new book called “Framers: Human Advantage in an Age of Technology and Turmoil”.

Interview with Kenneth Cukier

Ken explains that a frame is a point of view that we view every decision through. It’s models, templates and patterns in our brain that help us make sense of the world. Unfortunately, this means that it’s impossible in reality to think “outside the box” (no matter how hard we try). Instead, small business owners must understand their frames, realize how they limit the options they actually see and then adjust those frames with additional points of view.

Ken gives real world examples of where changing “the frame” changed the issues or the business response:

  • How Spotify beat Apple by reframing music as an experience and not just a purchase.
  • How the recent #MeToo twitter hashtag and movement reframed the perception of sexual assault.
  • How framing Covid-19 pandemic as equivalent to seasonal flu affected the US response.

Ken believes that small business owners need to let the creative team members with new future ideas have a voice in reshaping the frame of the company. They can’t be eliminated just because it does not fit the current frame.  This can be difficult for a company that is currently achieving a lot of success and sees no financial reason for a change right now.

Listen to the entire fascinating interview on The Small Business Radio Show.