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People usually think creativity is about thinking boundlessly or thinking outside the box. It sounds right since too many restrictions might block peoples’ thinking and they end up getting non-novel ideas. However, it doesn’t mean all the restrictions are bad for creative thinking. Sometimes, good restrictions might actually help brainstorm some creative ideas. Why? Because it’s not easy to think outside the box without any constraints. For example, it might be more difficult for you to come up with a new dish with unlimited constraints than giving you only 5 ingredients. But, you need to be careful. If you are going to establish some restrictions to set up a box for your people to think inside, they better be good ones.

“Think inside of the box to get creative ideas” might sound strange, yet it’s not that odd. When I am facilitating an innovation workshop as an innovation catalyst, I actually set restrictions all the time – I give the group some ground rules while they do divergent and convergent thinking. Some thinking tools I use are actually for stimulating them to come up with some original ideas by specifying conditions. For instance, the tool ‘escape’ helps people think differently by giving them different directions. The constraints I utilize are for improving the thinking instead of limiting the thinking. Also, forming an appropriate challenge statement is another way to set up a good ‘box’. I am sharing an article that talks about how to harness creativity by thinking inside the box from Inc. Hope you enjoy it.

我們常說創意就是要天馬行空,跳出框架來思考(think outside the box)。某種程度上,也許是對的,因為太多的限制會阻礙思考,會導致想出來的點子都很一般,不夠新穎。但是,這不表示,創意思考時完全不能有限制。有時候,適當地限制,反而能有效激盪出好點子,也更能精準的解決原先遇到的挑戰。為什麼?因為跳出框架思考真的不容易。有那麼點限制,讓你的團隊在一個框架內思考(think inside the box),他們反而比較容易想出一些點子。就好像有人要求你做一道創意料理,隨便你做,你可能想了半天都不知道要做什麼。但是如果他們只有五樣食材,要你做一道新的菜餚,你反而可能在短時間內有更多的想法。但是,必須要小心的是,如果你要給個限制,最好是一個好的限制,是一個可以幫助他們思考的限制,而不是會阻礙他們的限制。

Think inside the box to get creative ideas 聽起來好像很奇怪,但是其實一點也不。在我做創意催化師(innovation catalyst)的過程中,我其實就是在給一個限制。而所謂的思考工具其實也就是給一些限制來導引你思考的工具。舉例來說,我會在腦力激盪時給與我的參與者一些限制,如暫緩評斷(defer judgment),目的是為了讓這腦力激盪更有效率。有一個我常用的思考工具叫做跳脫法(escape),限制一些條件,如沒有廚房的餐廳,來刺激參與者想出一些新穎的點子。我所運用的限制,是為了幫助創意思考,不是限制。

Inc. 上週有一篇文章,討論到適當的挑戰問句,是設定一個好的框架的方式之ㄧ。而要如何適當地將挑戰問題定義明確,來讓你的團隊在好的框架中得到好創意則給了4個建議:

1. Make sure your challenge does not imply a specific solution. (問句中不含明確的解決方案)

2. Make sure your challenge does not imply a specific “solver.” (問句中不指名要誰來解決)

3. Make sure your challenge is not overly abstract or fluffy. (問題不要太模糊。)

4. Make sure you are solving the right challenge.(確定這是對的問題。)

原文Harness Creativity by Thinking Inside the Box,有興趣的可以看看。

在我看來think inside the box 和一般想的think outside the box好像是有抵觸,卻是講同一件事。不知您的看法如何?

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