Stop thinking OUTSIDE the box.


There’s one thing I must tell you:

I take huge pride in what I read.


I have no shame when it comes to TV (almost).

So, today, I‘ll reference Masterchef. And you will be OK with it because:

a) it’s creative

b) Gordon Ramsay is the boss

c) I could be doing (and watching) much worse things

So, yes, Masterchef.

Just in case you’ve never watched it, they have this test called the Mystery Box, where they get a box full of ingredients and have to do something with it. The point of the test is that they might get stuff they don’t know how to use, or downright hate, and of say, 15 ingredients, they can never put them all together nicely. They have to choose a few.

That test is a metaphor for life, see? You have to make do with what you have. And pick your priorities.

And I believe it’s the same with creativity and business.

We are often told to think outside the box, but where do you start?

We need to learn to think inside the mystery box that our situations are.

Let me be specific. Imagine you have to design a logo, but nobody tells you who is the audience, the medium or the company. It’d be impossible!

You need a frame of reference, you need limits.

You need the proverbial box!

I just finished working with a super fab client today and she told me “the one thing I’ve learnt from working with you is nothing needs to be the way I think it needs to be”. How lovely is that? I have not brought anything new to her table: I’ve made what was already there, new. Ha!

Back to Masterchef: the cook that wins the test is not the one with the craziest ingredients, it’s the one that makes the most of what everybody else has.

Look at what you already have in place and re-think the elements. You can even force yourself to work with a budget 0 or without a computer, go wild and limit yourself.

What’s in your box? Tell me in the comments!



(This week I was off to Tarragona, Spain, to give a talk about creativity, thinking inside the box and celebrating mistakes, so I thought I'd repost this piece originally published a year ago at )

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