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Sticky Notes Blog

September 17, 2019

How to Encourage Out-of-the-Box Thinking

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The concept of thinking outside the box is more than just a corporate cliché; it can truly help business progress past a plateau. For a successful, innovative, and sustainable business, it’s crucial to encourage all staff members to pursue alternative problem-solving approaches. Here are some straightforward strategies to foster out-of-the-box thinking.

Study an Opposite Industry

Often, when people spend their professional careers in one industry, they can develop habits and perspectives that are difficult to break away from. If a certain solution has worked in prior years, it’s tempting to try and implement that same solution over time. However, learning about other industries’ problem-solving techniques can inspire creativity and innovation in our own field. Even if the business models are starkly different, all companies have the same fundamental elements.

For example, while a textile manufacturer and insurance agency don’t have much in common on the surface, they may run into similar problems when dealing with staff morale, opening doors to emerging markets, or drafting fair, profitable contracts.

Learn About A Different Culture

Compare our American working culture to that of Western Europe or Latin America. Many people in Europe arrive to work after 9am, eat lunch at home, and work into the evening. Latin American companies often operate like a large family unit, with the top executives ensuring the well-being of lower-level employees and the employees’ loved ones.

While the standard American work culture views the 9-5 day a little differently, some organizations may benefit from modified hours, encouraging a balanced work-life approach, or curating a hospitable environment. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when we are only surrounded by people with ways of thinking similar to our own. Learning about a different culture can broaden our perspectives and trigger us to challenge our own way of looking at life and work.

Take a Class

Team building opportunities are numerous along the Front Range. Consider signing your team up for a class that pushes boundaries and challenges norms. Try a trapeze lesson or take a sustainable farming class. Encouraging people to move beyond their comfort zones fosters out-of-the-box thinking when they return to the office. When people learn a new skill or work out a creative solution in an unconventional environment, then they can more easily implement alternative problem-solving practices in a known setting, like that of an office space.

Go for a Walk

A simple change of scenery can be a huge help when needing to think outside the box. Create a welcoming, natural outdoor space where staff can retreat to for peace and quiet. Encourage mid-day walks; exercise isn’t only great for the body, but incredibly beneficial for the mind as well. Stepping away from a problem and dedicating energy to something else often opens the doors to out-of-the-box solutions.

EON Office provides thousands of discount office supplies that help employees and promote a sustainable business. Our next-day delivery means you can spend your valuable time accomplishing other tasks, like planning team-building activities or learning about another culture, society, or industry. Contact us for all of your office supply needs.