Every one wants to think out side of the box and approach differently. In this post I am exploring some of the perspectives of the term “thinking out of the box” and trying to share my understanding of them.
First, thinking out of the box is not thinking from inside and imagining the outside world. We ought to come outside of the problem domain. Outside is not just extending the domain in which we are remaining. Of course leaving the domain in which we are working on places lots to risks. But, being within the domain will not be thinking really outside of the box. For example, working as a developer in Java one can not think of different language and propose a language specification that is entirely different from java. If one thinks merely applying a different algorithm in the same domain, he/she at least has to come out the original algorithm and watch that process from the outside and watch fairly. Yet another example, if one is working on some process model, then to explore some other processes or think something different from that he/she really has to leave the attachment from the original model first. He/she could be able to trace the limitations of one domain only by seeing the outside world and watching back previous working domain from outside.
Second, choosing inside tools one cannot think out side of the box. If you are inside a closed box, the environment inside is always in favor of the box, you have to think really hard to break the box. Your original tool may not help there. For example, if we need to explore outside the limit of programming or computer system itself, then thinking about solving that problem with computer tools will not help. Let us take another example: we are considering to explore the limit of physics and think outside of it to explain some nature of mind. Here the tools of existing physical science can not break the physics itself. So, if we consider the same theory and use the same tool we will always be inside the box of the matters and physical principles. Though, this example could be the largest possible box, we could even come out of this to find better solution to present science crisis.
Third, what is important is how you define your box itself. The size and domain of box depends upon the situation. If you are working in a particular domain and are trying to solve a typical problem then the problem only may be the box and you may have to come outside of that. It is not necessary to come out of the entire domain always.
So, define your problem first that in turn defines your box. Come really out of the box and watch it back from the outside, then only are you out side of the box and could think back from outside of the box. In my view, thinking outside of the box always helps if you are clear about the box itself and are aware of the limits of the thoughts you are safe to go.