Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Thinking Outside the Box

In order to innovate and to create commonsense solutions to problems and issues we must think outside the box. Many times there are what seems to be obvious solutions to problems, but that does not mean they are the best solution. Today, political and corporate leaders are failing simply because they do have the creativity to think outside the box to solve critical problems that are cost effective.

Can people be trained to think outside the box? Yes, but it is not easy to teach egomaniacs new tricks. To think outside the box people must be open minded to understand all sides of an issue. That in itself eliminates over 90% of the population who lack the ability to learn points of view they vehemently disagree with. This is especially true when it comes to differences over political or religious ideology. This explains why Middle East peace is not an easy problem to solve because it is both religious and political. In effect, a good problem solver will try to solve the problem from their opponent’s point of view to ensure all sides are happy. In many instances, to solve a problem outside the box it is important to have the ability to invert existing solutions and do the exact opposite to solve a problem. Outside the box thinking also means finding a simple solution to a complex problem.

Global warming or climate change is an excellent example. Today, the liberal solution to climate change is vastly complex. It consists of infrastructure updates to our national power grid to incorporate more expensive renewable energies. It also consists of taxing corporations that emit carbon emissions. Thus, the liberal solution would have an adverse effect on our economy because it will drastically increase the costs of utilities and therefore, the price for goods and services. The solution will create a massive financial bubble for the climate change industry that will lead to another recession. Is this a commonsense solution that benefits everyone in a positive way? Liberals say yes because everyone has cleaner air, but even this is not true. In fact, the liberal solution does not make our air cleaner it only slows the buildup of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere.

What if we viewed the problem form the liberal standpoint and agreed that even if global warming is not manmade, CO2 is a pollutant and dangerous to our health. Thus, it may be advantageous to find a solution. However, the solution cannot put a burden on our economy or our individual lifestyles. Hence, one outside the box solution would consist of using CO2 scrubbers. Scrubbers are independent stations that filter CO2 from the air and bury it deep under the earth’s surface. The beauty of this solution is it does not affect anyone’s lifestyle or the economy one bit. Economies can continue to fossil fuels to generate energy, but at the same time our air can be made cleaner by lowering CO2 levels in the atmosphere. This is a great solution because both the technology exists and it is not as not nearly as cost prohibitive as massive carbon taxes and using expensive renewable energies.

What about an outside the box solution for healthcare reform? Any solution that consists of a convoluted flowchart where the patient cannot be found is a not a good solution. It would make much more sense to create a national charity whose proceeds go to giving people who cannot afford health insurance a policy for their families.

What would be a good solution to combat bureaucracy? One way to simplify how bureaucratic entities operate is to have a paradigm shift in how groups, departments, and companies are organized. Instead of using pyramid shaped organizational charts, a switch to circular shaped organization charts would help combat waste, inefficiency, and bureaucracy. Circular organizations place everyone at the same level in terms of power and therefore, improves communication, motivates workers, and makes it much easier to remove waste or redundancy.

These are just a few examples of how to use out of the box thinking to find creative ways to solve complex problems.

My Book: Is America Dying? (, Barnes and Noble)


  1. Hi Patrick,

    It would be hard to argue that thinking outside the box isn’t a good idea for finding creative solutions, but I also have to reiterate my stipulation that first people have to agree on what the problem is, or that a problem even exists at all. The healthcare debate is a great example. Some would say the problem is that healthcare is too expensive. I disagree. I don’t think that’s the problem at all. I think it’s merely a symptom of a much bigger problem, which is that healthcare has become almost completely divorced from the free market, thanks mostly to gov’t regulations and gov’t management of Medicare and Medicaid. It is this separation that has led to not only skyrocketing prices but a convoluted system that is beyond the understanding of the average consumer (including myself!). Therefore the only acceptable solution is to get gov’t out of healthcare in every way we possibly can. This, of course, is diametrically opposite to how the Left sees it. In addition to being reflexively against anything free market, they see healthcare as the Holy Grail of wealth transfer and the country’s quiet transition to socialism. The last thing they want to do is get gov’t out of it. They want gov’t to have complete control. There is no out-of-the-box solution that can reconcile these views, and the same is true on just about every major issue that we disagree on.

  2. CW, I do think we agree to a certain extent. My solution to healthcare is to have a privately run charity to fund it. You say healthcare costs is not the problem, but then say costs are out of control because of government interference. I think we agree cost is a problem, and I think we agree government is not the solution.