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Thinking in New Boxes summary

Luc de Brabandere and Alan Iny

A New Paradigm for Business Creativity

3.9 (49 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

Thinking in New Boxes by Luc de Brabandere and Alan Iny is a guide to thinking creatively in order to solve problems. Through real-world examples and exercises, readers learn to challenge assumptions and think outside the box to generate new ideas and possibilities.

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    Thinking in New Boxes
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    Like it or not, you can’t escape thinking in boxes.

    How many times have you been asked to “think outside the box”? While this sage advice has been around for almost half a century, it’s much easier said than done. In part, this is because of the way we think.

    Mental models – or “boxes” – enable us to process and make sense of our complex reality.

    Our mind is constantly developing simplified models of the world, sorting information into categories and patterns while also developing more sophisticated constructions like rules and paradigms. Without these models, we would lose our ability to think efficiently. In fact, it’s impossible to reason without boxes – that’s just how our brain works.

    If you live in Germany, for example, you’ve learned to associate light beige cars with taxis, i.e., you’ve created a “box” for taxis. While you know that not all vehicles of that color will offer you a ride, you can nonetheless rule out numerous non-taxi cars in your search for a ride from point A to point B.

    If you travel to New York City, however, you won’t linger in a boxless void for long. Almost instantly, you will develop a new box based on the new information from your environment, and thus keep a keen eye out for a yellow car if you need a lift.

    See, there isn’t just “the box.” Rather, there are multiple boxes, all of which are shaped by your identity – and your identity’s like a series of boxes, too. You can be comprised of an infinite combination of identities – for example, an IT specialist, an Australian, a woman and so on – and thus there is an infinite number of boxes outside your specific worldview.

    Boxes are the buttress for our capacity to think; you can’t avoid them. Once you step out of one, you’ll simply find yourself in another.

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    What is Thinking in New Boxes about?

    Thinking in New Boxes (2013) takes a deep look into the mind in order to create a clear understanding of the creative process. It gives the reader tools to uncover, manipulate and even create the “boxes” we use to organize information, shape our perception of the world and ultimately enable innovation.

    Thinking in New Boxes Review

    Thinking in New Boxes (2013) is a book that challenges conventional thinking and offers a fresh perspective on problem-solving. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It presents a framework for developing innovative ideas by breaking away from traditional thought patterns and embracing new possibilities.
    • Through a combination of real-life case studies and exercises, the book encourages readers to think critically and consider multiple perspectives, fostering creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.
    • With its engaging storytelling and thought-provoking examples, the book ensures that readers are constantly stimulated and never find it dull or boring.

    Best quote from Thinking in New Boxes

    You cant think without boxes, so dont even try.

    —Luc de Brabandere and Alan Iny
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    Who should read Thinking in New Boxes?

    • Entrepreneurs, managers, engineers and politicians
    • Anyone who wants to enhance their creativity

    About the Author

    Luc de Brabandere is a research fellow and senior advisor at The Boston Consulting Group in Paris. He has written and co-authored 12 books, including The Forgotten Half of Change.

    Senior specialist for creativity and scenario planning at The Boston Consulting Group in New York, Alan Iny has an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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    Thinking in New Boxes FAQs 

    What is the main message of Thinking in New Boxes?

    Thinking in New Boxes teaches us to break free from outdated thinking patterns and embrace new ways of problem-solving.

    How long does it take to read Thinking in New Boxes?

    The reading time for Thinking in New Boxes varies depending on the reader's speed. But don't worry, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Thinking in New Boxes a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Thinking in New Boxes is worth reading because it provides fresh insights and practical tools to encourage innovative thinking.

    Who is the author of Thinking in New Boxes?

    The authors of Thinking in New Boxes are Luc de Brabandere and Alan Iny.

    What to read after Thinking in New Boxes?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Thinking in New Boxes, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • ALIEN Thinking by Cyril Bouquet
    • Super Thinking by Gabriel Weinberg with Lauren McCann
    • The Art Of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli
    • Unlearn by Barry O’Reilly
    • The Creative Thinking Handbook by Chris Griffiths & Melina Costi
    • The Five Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird
    • Problem Solving 101 by Ken Watanabe
    • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
    • Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono
    • The Conscious Mind by David J. Chalmers