Think Outside the Box – Words of the Week

Think Outside the Box or Thinking Outside the Box

One of the original MBA buzzwords, think outside the box means to seek a solution to a business problem through creative thinking rather than typical lateral thought.The term originated from a management consultancy puzzle called the Nine Dots.

Think Outside the Box

The goal of the Nine Dot puzzle is to draw four or fewer straight, continuous lines through each of the dots without lifting your pen. You should try it now. 

Typical lateral thinkers believe it can’t be done, and will spend lengthy amounts of time agonizing over the results.Creative members of a group may jump straight to the conclusion that the only way to solve the puzzle is to break the parameters set by the outer dots, and they would be right.

Think Outside the BoxThink Outside the Box

Thus, the way to solve the puzzle is to be creative by thinking outside the box.

Caution – think outside the box is one of the most overused buzzwords in the MBA world.You should be aware of it, but not necessarily use it often.

Author: Grayson Leverenz

Grayson Leverenz founded MBA in the USA® to help international students build networks, find jobs, and have fun in the USA. Hundreds of global professionals have benefited from Grayson’s intercultural workshops, and she has worked with people from Brazil, China, India, South Africa, South Korea, the UK, and the USA to build effective virtual teams and craft brilliant careers.

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1 Comment

  1. A straight line is a geodesic to a surface. Thus with the appropriate (maybe large) surface, the nine dot problem can be solved with one straight line.


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