Thinking outside the box is absolutely a great start to start a brainstorming session but sometimes you even have to go further and break, burn or ban the box. You have to look at your problem/challenge from a totally different box. It’s very interesting to get inspired by a different industry. It’s called cross industry innovation.
For example: What can automotive industry learn from the healthcare?
What can consultancy learn from market research?
What can the sport industry learn from financial markets?
So instead of thinking outside the box that you already know, look at a different industry or function. In that case, you’re of course thinking outside your box but you even break the rules in your own industry. And you might discover a totally different business model. If you ‘only think outside your own box’, you still can get stuck in a certain area of solutions. Eg If the banking industry thinks outside their box and they only look for other possibilities that have something to do with their financial products, they won’t discover totally new directions. What would happen if they would generate ideas about the question ‘How can we make banking more fun and playful?’ or ‘How can we use the gaming industry to streamline certain financial processes?’ or ‘How would our bank be structured if we would follow the IKEA -model?’
Two cross industry innovation examples:
+ Amazon is now becoming a competitor for big shopping malls like Wallmart (Amazon Fresh). They broke the box of selling books and are operating in totally different industries.
+ Google (originally in the box of data-search) is now investing time, money and energy in the domain of the automotive and developed the Google self-driving car.
Two of my colleagues Ramon Vullings and Marc Heleven are writing a book about this cross industry innovation. Here’s a slideshare where you can find 50 companies and industries who’ve chosen to go with cross industry innovation.