Think inside the box

chip_heath.jpgEver sit in a “brainstorming session” in which people spin pencils, twirl their hair and talk past each other? Suppose you work for a banking institution and your manager calls a meeting to gather ideas about how to create a more friendly and warm environment where customers like to come? Sue wants a smile campaign complete with happy buttons, Joe thinks we should hand out coffee and donuts and Marcus thinks we should put our energy into a marketing campaign emphasizing the ease of online banking and try to get people to stay home. Independently each idea has its own merit, but together there’s no cohesive direction providing action and unity.

Chip Heath, co-author with his brother Dan Heath of Made to Stick, suggests instead of starting with a blank slate, try starting with the right kind of box to think in. Chip Conley is a successful entrepreneur and founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality. After spending three days in non-starter creativity sessions with his staff, he brought a “box” to work one morning for everyone to start thinking inside of – effectively providing a frame of reference from which a clear and compelling stream of ideas could be directed. The result was Joie de Vivre‘s first hotel. Enjoy!