It’s not just about getting out of the box. Its about getting out, finding the right box and then getting into that box.
Take a sheet of paper and write down everything you can think of that’s white. You have 15 seconds, go. Done? Good, now take 15 seconds and write down everything that is or could be in your refrigerator that’s white. Finished? Raise your hand if had better luck with the second list.
Dan Heath, who co-authored the book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die with his brother Chip, started his talk at BIF-3 this afternoon by asking the audience to complete the exercise I described above. A good number (perhaps nearly half) of audience members were able to name more white things the second time around. But that’s an odd outcome, said Heath, because there are more white things that exist in the universe than in your refrigerator. The constraint, however, helped focus your thinking and made the task of identifying objects easier because of the stricter perameters.