Stepping outside the box is a term used to describe the creativity and innovation of entrepreneurs from all professional fields. Outside-the-box thinking often provides solutions to complex problems or allows entrepreneurs to develop new methods of doing business that can increase profits, reduce expenses, increase employee retention, or reduce negative incidents in the workplace. If you want to be able to step outside the box and think creatively, you will need to develop the correct mind-set for being innovative and learning how to move away from traditional methods of thinking that have become stagnant and underproductive. There are many ways to ease yourself into this mind-set if you are willing to take the initiative and put in the effort.

One of the first steps to developing the mind-set needed for outside-the-box thinking is to alter your thinking so that it coincides with the principles of this concept. If you have been solving problems with traditional problem-solving methods and have not seen good results, you may be ready to try stepping outside the box to come up with more creative solutions to your business problems. Most of the time, we think it is good to work hard or work smart. The key to outside-the-box thinking is to play smart. It is important to remove all judgment from the process. While generating new ideas, consider everything during the creative process. There are literally no “bad” ideas. Develop an understanding of how stepping outside the box can benefit your business, and work toward using this type of thinking when you face business problems. Many books and Web sites can give information on this type of thinking if you need more information on what stepping outside the box can do for you. An example is our Web page You can also consult with a business or personal development coach who specializes in motivation and creativity. The coach will ask you pointed questions that will change your perspective on the subject so that you can find new ideas. Working with this type of professional can give you a clear picture of how to step outside the box and the type of results you can expect to see once you do so. A good creative coach can also teach you various methods to arrive at new solutions to a problem. There are many established techniques for innovating, and a good Web search on the keywords “creativity” and “innovation” can lead you to hours of results.

The next step in developing the mind-set needed for outside-the-box thinking is to immerse yourself in activities that encourage creativity and innovative thinking. You can simply look at things in new and different ways. Imagine your problem solved. What does it look like? Imagine it bigger, smaller, faster, slower, more expensive, and less expensive. You might consider taking seminars or workshops dedicated to helping you find your creative self. There are many noncredit courses at community colleges that can help you to develop your creativity. You can also consider taking a course in a creative discipline, such as art or music. You can ask the question to people who would not normally be concerned with it. You may be surprised at how well that works. Look at what other industries do to solve similar problems. Can their solutions be adapted to your situation? The relaxation and sense of accomplishment that accompany working in a creative setting can often trigger innovative business ideas. Immersing yourself in creativity-boosting surroundings will help you on your way to developing the correct mind-set needed for stepping outside the box and solving problems in new and exciting ways. Many creative professionals surround their work spaces with bright colors, or even toys, to stimulate their imaginations. Try playing different styles of music. Sometimes varying your routine or familiar patterns can stir things loose.

Stepping outside the box to think creatively and implement innovative solutions to problems is not an easy task to accomplish. In order to develop the correct mind-set for this type of thinking, you need to understand that being innovative and creative in terms of problem solving can be very difficult if you do not loosen up. One key to your mind-set will be to understand that you will have to put a great deal of time and effort into your initial attempts at stepping outside the box. You should try to go back to a childlike viewpoint. Reach beyond the point of thinking where you mind starts saying that what you are thinking is fantasy. This means that you may have some initial difficulty in moving away from previous ways of thinking and moving toward being able to use outside-the-box thinking on a more permanent basis. Most of us have been raised by well-meaning parents and teachers who tell us things like “stop daydreaming!” Certainly this plays a part in our difficulty in stretching our imaginations. A good, stimulating practice is to insist on at least three answers to any question. Our minds tend to work in binary. If we go beyond the either/or process of thinking, we often find the solution we have been looking for. The sooner you can commit yourself to putting the required effort into developing your mind-set, the sooner you can use the principles of thinking outside the box to benefit your business. If you commit yourself to smart play and perseverance, you can develop the mind-set needed to step outside the box and develop creative solutions for your organization.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit

Author's Bio: 

Adrian McMaster is one of Australia’s top innovation and mind-set coaches and the director of Creative Attitudes, PTY LTD. His techniques will unlock your creativity and help you transform your life and business. Adrian has a powerful collection of e-books to assist you in developing your mind-set, and Adrian will give you a free, 10-minute Innovation Assessment by quickly going to