think outside the box


Also found in: Acronyms, Wikipedia.

think outside the box

Fig. to think freely, not bound by old, nonfunctional, or limiting structures, rules, or practices. (As if thinking or creativity were confined in or limited by a figurative box. Compare this with think inside the box.) You won't come up with good ideas until you think outside the box. Let's think outside the box for a minute and try to find a better solution.
See also: box, outside, think

think outside the box

also think out of the box
to develop ideas that are different and unusual We need to think outside the box if we are going to come up with something really new. These guys are incredibly creative - they really know how to think out of the box.
Usage notes: sometimes used with verbs other than think: You need to look outside the box and see what you can come up with.
Etymology: based on the idea that limiting your thoughts is like thinking inside a box which can contain only a certain number of ideas
See also: box, outside, think

think outside the box

to think imaginatively using new ideas instead of traditional or expected ideas We try to encourage our researchers to think outside the box.
See also: box, outside, think
References in periodicals archive ?
I recognize this bill is willing to think outside the box,'' Romero said last week, ``and I'm willing to stir it up.
The reality is this overpriced real estate market requires one to think outside the box.
If you're a hard worker and you're willing to think outside the box, then the opportunities are endless.
As an independently-owned facility, we were able to think outside the box and create a distinctive meetings philosophy, design and aesthetic plan," says Todd Nelson, president and owner of Kalahari Resorts, which opened its popular waterpark resort in Sandusky in May, 2005.
We are looking to think outside the box in ways to generate money for the city,'' Councilwoman Wendy Greuel said.
The developers willingness to run risks and the architects willingness to think outside the box really is a measure of how much confidence people have in the future of New York City," he said.
Of Harold, regular judge Gail Simmons of Food & Wine says, "The point (of 'Top Chef') is learning to think outside the box, to be creative.
This center shows that we decided to think outside the box and take a proactive approach to helping teens, some of whom have serious problems,'' said Councilman Dave Weaver.
First, retailers looking to grow in modem facilities in northern New Jersey are being forced to think outside the box as the market continues to tighten.
Our team proved its ability to think outside the box to develop an innovative solution that fits the State's requirements.
But most of all, says Colago, the Chess Club president, it teaches you to think outside the box.
Brokers today need to think outside the box to meet their clients' current and future needs.
Now is the time to think outside the box, before we put our votes inside it.
5% worldwide, a drop from 6% in 2005 - will create the pressure that drives IT suppliers to think outside the box.