The Time Has Come To Think Inside The Box


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All of your life you have been told to learn to think outside the box. All through school you have been taught to think outside the box and now comes this idiot who says the time has come to think inside the box. When did he arrive from Pluto or was it Uranus?

The Wikipedia definition of the term “Thinking outside the box is to think differently, unconventionally or from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel, creative and smart thinking.” Thinking outside the box inspires our creative juices and gets us looking at all the different possibilities that lay around us. It makes us look at all the options and then some, before we choose the strategic path upon which to tread.

Another way of looking at thinking outside the box is to realize that it means that we are in a box. Our box is defined by our education, our culture, our experiences, our religious background, our upbringing and all of those other factors that influence who we are. It also means that for us to be in the same box we need to have the same influence factors and feel the same pain.

Now consider our customers, and realize that they are also in boxes that are defined by their influencing factors which most likely are different from ours. Their pain is different and therefore they think differently from us. To begin to communicate with our customers, it is critical that we understand how they think and it means that we have to learn to think inside their box.

We need to strike up conversations with our customers and listen to what they are telling us so we can understand their box and how to think inside it. Luckily for us, our target market is made up of our favorite customers who tend to think alike and therefore are in the same box or in similar boxes. So thinking inside their box does not stretch us into thinking in too many boxes.

To become customer centric and to be able to exceed customer expectations, we need to first understand their expectations and that demands that we learn to think inside their box.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Smith
YCHANGE International
Jim Smith mentors entrepreneurial start-ups and counsels small to mid sized companies that are looking to expand or are under performing or under capitalized.


  1. This post is right on target. At our company, we work on improving the online customer experience, where few business’ seem to have given much thought to the “box” their customer is in when they visit a website (an entirely different set of emotions and behaviors than in-store experience). Until business’ understand where there customers are coming from – or “get into their box” – they will lose valuable business opportunities and the chance to build loyal customers. Great post, Jim.

    Marcus Haggard

  2. Glad you agree Marcus. We need to get away from the philosophy of just pushing product down the throat of the customer and start to converse with and understand what is driving their behavior. That only happens when we get inside their box.


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