For years we’ve heard about thinking outside the box. It’s a cliché. Like most clichés, overuse has muted its meaning. But thinking outside the box was never rare. Almost everyone thinks outside the box. Everyone wishes things were different than they are. We daydream and we fantasize. We gripe about this policy or that boss. Unconventional thinking was never scarce.
What is scarce is acting outside the box.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people talked about ending racial segregation for years before Rosa Parks acted outside the box. Was she answering the call of civil rights leaders? No. She just wanted to sit down in the nearest open seat, and she did. Rosa Parks’ actions—not her thoughts—sparked a movement that ended centuries of injustice.
If an organization says it encourages thinking outside the box, be wary. Thinking doesn’t rock the boat, challenge conventional wisdom, or spark revolutionary change. Only acting outside the box does. When a new architecture is needed, create it. When a room just doesn’t work, rearrange it.
Create a company or organization that acts outside the box, and you can change the world. Thinking won’t even change your costume.