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Thinking Outside the Box

Thinking Outside the Box

Mike Doane

How to turn creative thinking into a proven process

Have you heard the phrase, “Think outside the box?” It’s one of those phrases that’s drilled into our heads as children and used mindlessly in the workplace as adults. It’s a way of saying, “Be creative,” or “Don’t be square.”

But thinking outside the box is unsustainable. It takes a lot of mental energy and cannot be turned on like a switch. It often takes a flash of insight. Sometimes we simply need a system that scales, a method that works, a beat to keep the rhythm going. Sometimes we just need to be square.

That’s why whenever I think outside the box, I also look for ways to square the circle. I look for opportunities to turn that creative thinking into a proven process. If it can be done, I do it.

For example, I used to spend a lot of time creating custom packages for clients. I realized that there were patterns in these packages and that a few things worked for everyone. I was able to distill that knowledge into a course and now I can share it with hundreds of people per year rather than just a few. I turned a service into a product.

That’s squaring the circle at its finest. It’s maximizing the value of my output, amplifying its reach, and building a sustainable product from an unsustainable process.