We should always be looking for ways of thinking outside the box. It isn't that we will always find a better solution through more creative or non-conventional solutions. But we sometimes will. Maybe that doesn't sound inspiring enough, so let me explain.

Suppose you get in the habit of thinking outside the box and you have many interesting, creative, but unusable ideas. So most of the time you fall back on conventional solutions to your problems, whether at home or in business or in the workplace. But once in a while you have an inspiration that doubles your income or changes your life dramatically for the better or results in a new idea or invention that the world hasn't seen before? Is that more interesting?

You see, it isn't necessary nor reasonable to expect that you'll have great new ideas every day. But one here and there can make all the difference, and repay you for all the time spent brainstorming silly concepts that went nowhere. How do you have that occasional flash of creative inspiration? Here are three ways.

1. Just get silly.

Some of you are hating this already. You don't want to start spewing out nonsense and look silly in front of others. Or even if you are by yourself you feel uncomfortable imagining eyes on shoes and doodling pictures of people talking to wheelchairs. The good news is that you can get seriously creative without such silliness. there are enough other ways of thinking outside the box.

The bad news is that such seriousness did not lead to reflective strips on running shoes. That safety innovation actually came from a brainstorming session in which one participant imagined eyes on shoes looking out for traffic. Silly ideas often morph into practical inventions if given the chance to exist in the first place. And by the way, there are not only wheelchairs that respond to the user's voice, but now one that can be controlled by thought.

2. Look beyond the current definitions.

Problems are expressed or defined in certain ways, and that affects the potential solutions that come to mind. You could call the usual ways of stating a problem the "box." Now get out of it by restating them in new ways.

For example, you might see the problem at your business as how to get customers to buy more of your product or service. That leads to more typical marketing ideas or to price cuts. Or you might redefine the problem as how to help customers see the value you offer and so accept the higher price. Even more out of the box is the question of how to just find customers who already can appreciate what you have to offer and will pay the high price without hesitation. Now you've gone from the more stressful task of trying to sell more to just making more money from fewer happier customers - and there may be a way if you look.

3. Cross-breed ideas.

You need to make a house that is more energy efficient. Rather than looking at other houses and what has been tried in this area, why not look at a whole different area, like animals. What do they do to heat and cool themselves, and how can you apply that to your house design? Of all of the ways of thinking outside the box, "cross-breeding" ideas form different areas of knowledge like this is one of the most fun and creative.

Author's Bio: 

Copyright Steve Gillman. For inventions, new product ideas, business ideas, story ideas, political and economic theories, deep thoughts, a free course on Creating new Ideas, and more on Thinking Out Of The Box, visit: http://www.999ideas.com