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Inside the Box

March 24, 2009
There is a great book on creativity called The Houdini Solution in which author Ernie Schenck, co-founder of acclaimed advertising agency Pagano, Schenck & Kay, gives a thought provoking account of creative genius.  We’ve all heard the theory – to be creative is to think “outside the box.”  People are always advocating this concept when they want you to be creative, do something new, or come up with some ingenious idea that’s never been done before.  It’s all great stuff, but it’s very broad and difficult to actually define let alone accomplish.There are always restrictions, regulations, limits, customer wants and needs, budget constraints, etc. that form a proverbial “box” you must work within to get the job done.  Schenck flips the “outside the box” ideas and argues that thinking inside this “box” allows for greater creativity due to its restrictions. Only in taking advantage of your surrounding “walls” can you accomplish something no one ever has.   Going further he gives The Houdini 50 – 50 creative thinking concepts and brainstorming strategies which force you to create constraints to work within.

Currently, the big or rather, the small box  is the economic recession.  Ask anyone in any field how business is going and they’ll surely tell you “The economy is down…business sucks.”  Everyone in every business is getting hit and the box continues to squeeze us all within its walls.  There’s less revenue coming in which means there’s less in the advertising budget this month.  It’s an opportunity to look at things with a new perspective and find new opportunities to grow.  What are the constraints in your way?  Force yourself to think inside the box.  Not every wall makes it harder to succeed.  You’ll probably find that it’s quite the contrary.

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