You’ve probably heard the phrase “out of the box” (or “out of the box thinking”) being thrown around with reckless abandon when creativity is being discussed. The phrase itself has become somewhat of a cliche. (Hence, partially, the title of this blog.)
Douglas Rushkoff’s latest book, Get Back In The Box: Innovation from the Inside Out, is written to point out the flaws in the out-of-the-box thinking method and more importantly, to show the importance of getting back in the box.
What does getting back in the box mean? It means that companies should look inside themselves instead of going outside for solutions, that they should ask the tough questions, that they should connect with their core (sorta new-ageish I know), and so on.
What you see companies doing for the most part is to hire external consultants to whip up “creative solutions”. This sort of solution is usually good for the external consultants but not so good for the company. Rushkoff’s book explains how companies have lost touch with their “insides” and why companies are finding it hard to innovate. Here’s an excerpt from the book summary:
”American companies are obsessed with window dressing,” Rushkoff writes, “because they’re reluctant, no, afraid to look at whatever it is they really do and evaluate it from the inside out. When things are down, CEO’s look to consultants and marketers to rethink, re-brand or repackage whatever it is they are selling, when they should be getting back on the factory floor, into the stores, or out to the research labs where their product is actually made, sold, or conceived.”
Rushkoff draws from his experience as a consultant and writer and uses examples that you can relate to and keeps his narrative interesting and the book full of ideas that make sense. Among other things, Rushkoff writes about how play is the driving force for this new renaissance. He also talks about open sourcing, not just as a software principle, but as a general principle for businesses.
Get Back In The Box is one of those books that is a must-read for anyone with an interest in creativity, business, work-life, or just anyone looking for a superb book to read.
PS: You can find Rushkoff’s blog here.