Unfold the Box. Thinking Outside the Box and Designing New Ones

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“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”
— George Orwell


In today’s competitive marketplace we need to design products that present creative and truly innovative ideas. So far we have been calling this “thinking outside of the box”.

I am aware that thinking outside of the box requires us to understand the current framework systems we operate under.

Framework systems have a goal, a purpose and rules of thought and behavior in order to insure success within the framework.

The moment we realize that there are other approaches that can work, that’s the moment we begin to “get out of the boxes” that limit our thinking.

But thinking outside the boxes is not enough. The real challenge is designing systems that are better for our purposes and goals.

To do this we must go back to the drawing board and ask ourselves – “what was the original most basic purpose goal for our current system?”


If you keep going deeper you will eventually “unfold” the box, and you end up with one sheet of cardboard – there is no “inside” or “outside” of the box- because there is no box. That’s when you realize the box is just a tool.

Once we get here we have the basic skills to construct and de-construct different types of boxes for our goals and purposes. We might even realize that some goals can be attained without a box. How many boxes do you have in your life?

“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.” — Chinese Proverb

– Daniel Montano
Author of Innovation Strategies of the World’s Most Innovative Companies. Analyzes the innovation strategies of P&G, Apple, IDEO, eBay, GE, Gillette, IBM, Nokia, Philips, Samsung, Target, Toyota, IKEA, Virgin, and companies nominated by BusinessWeek Magazine as the “World’s Most Innovative Companies” ©2006 Daniel Montano.

Keywords: User experience, UXD, Interaction design, human factors, learning organizations, marketing strategies, innovation strategies.

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