Innovation by Getting Into Another Box

Creativity theorists encourage people to “get out of the box.” The theory is that while you are inside a self-imposed box, you will not invent anything new. So get out of that box. Yet an opposing theory, posed by Andrew Hargadon in How Breakthroughs Happen, suggests that getting out of the box is not as important as hopping into a different box. Hargadon goes on to suggest that innovations and new technologies come from a confluence of people, ideas, and objects from different boxes. “This book puts forth a counterintuitive proposition: that these entrepreneurs and inventors are no smarter, no more courageous, tenacious, or rebellious than the rest of us—they are simply better connected,” Hargadon writes. ...

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