# The Box: in, or out are you?

#### Arctic Fox

Before I finally get banned from these forums...

Who here feels like they think "inside the box"?

Who here feels like they think "outside the box"?

The reason I ask is because of this thread. There are a lot of people whom I ask different hypothetical or imaginative questions to see what they are thinking, but in most of these, it seems like people are so focused on one single thing that they are unable to see anything else.

I think ITB would be logic(al), and OTB would be the illogic(al)? With this in mind, I was wondering about buying Christmas presents - if someone is an ITB thinker, you'll get a sweater. If someone is an OTB thinker, you'll get a tie with blinking lights on it.

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#### zoobyshoe

Arctic Fox said:
Before I finally get banned from these forums...

Who here feels like they think "inside the box"?
I am definitely an "in the box" type thinker.
Who here feels like they think "outside the box"?
I am definitely an "out of the box" type thinker.
I think ITB would be logic(al), and OTB would be the illogic(al)?
I don't think so at all. "In the box" means, "according to standard procedure." "Out of the box" refers to novel, original, non-standard methods of thinking. Both could be either logical or illogical.

#### Lisa!

Gold Member
Happy belated birthday Arctic fox!

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#### Arctic Fox

Thank you Lisa! ! ;)

#### Smurf

If you want I'm sure I could convince people to throw you a "Arctic's getting banned" party.

#### brewnog

Gold Member
Stop whinging!

That thread didn't even get closed for Pete's sake. Someone (who happened to be an admin) just said they thought it was a waste of time. What's the problem?

I don't see it had anything to do with out-of-the-box thinking.

#### wolram

Gold Member
Arctic Fox said:
Before I finally get banned from these forums...

Who here feels like they think "inside the box"?

Who here feels like they think "outside the box"?

The reason I ask is because of this thread. There are a lot of people whom I ask different hypothetical or imaginative questions to see what they are thinking, but in most of these, it seems like people are so focused on one single thing that they are unable to see anything else.

I think ITB would be logic(al), and OTB would be the illogic(al)? With this in mind, I was wondering about buying Christmas presents - if someone is an ITB thinker, you'll get a sweater. If someone is an OTB thinker, you'll get a tie with blinking lights on it.

You wont get banned because of that, anyway these people have an obligation to stay in the box, it is innovators who think out of the box.
If i am half and half can i have both?

#### Artman

The thing with thinking outside the box is that you have to know where the box is first. Then you can move outside of it's borders and get creative.

If you don't know the definition of your box then you are just thinking outside.

To answer your question, in most things I am an outside the box thinker, but always after I know where the box ends.

#### Smurf

Artman said:
To answer your question, in most things I am an outside the box thinker, but always after I know where the box ends.
A box is cubical, it has no end.

BUM BUM BUUUUUM

#### Daminc

Does it matter what colour the box is ???

#### Artman

Smurf said:
A box is cubical, it has no end.

BUM BUM BUUUUUM
It has many ends.

#### Daminc

But does the ends justify the means? That's what we should be asking ourselves.

#### zoobyshoe

Daminc said:
But does the ends justify the means? That's what we should be asking ourselves.
I would have asked if the color of the box justified the ends.

#### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Artman said:
The thing with thinking outside the box is that you have to know where the box is first. Then you can move outside of it's borders and get creative.
I agree, although, the box is a rather artificial and subjective boundary anyway. To the out-of-the-box thinker, it may seem like they've just come up with a perfectly logical in-the-box solution, while to everyone else stuck in a rut, they view it as outside-the-box.

Looking at the question posed in the thread referred to by the OP, I don't think it's calling for either. I admit to not seeing the point of the question either. Why post in one of the serious forums here a topic asking how people feel about two choices and specifically instructing them to not think about the physics of it? What I see are a lot of people asking for justification of the question. I'm surprised it hasn't been moved over here to GD already.

If you don't know the definition of your box then you are just thinking outside.
I'd be cautious in making such a statement (I think there's more than one way to read that). I think one way to get trapped thinking inside-the-box is to spend too much time focusing on the box rather than on the question that needs solving. But, on the other hand, if you don't know how others have attempted to solve the problem before you, then you risk just repeating their mistakes again. Being able to look at the attempted solutions that have not worked and identifying where the problems were is a good way to find a new solution.

To answer your question, in most things I am an outside the box thinker, but always after I know where the box ends.
I don't know, it seems I come across to others as an outside-the-box thinker, but I myself don't feel like I'm doing that; I'm just following the logical next step. Honestly, I don't really think there is a "box," and it certainly doesn't define logical from illogical, it is simply jargon that means the same thing as the old phrase, "stuck in a rut." It just means you've become so focused on one way of doing things that you have lost the ability to step back and look at the whole picture for a new solution.

#### The Rev

Artman said:
It has many ends.
But few means.

I run into the same thing. When I ask a question, often the answer is more descriptive than creative, and I get the impression that many people here do not ask themselves anything really off the wall about their areas of expertise.

$$\psi$$

The Rev

#### DocToxyn

Daminc said:
Does it matter what colour the box is ???
Isn't it the ubiquitous "Black Box".

#### Artman

Moonbear said:
I agree, although, the box is a rather artificial and subjective boundary anyway. To the out-of-the-box thinker, it may seem like they've just come up with a perfectly logical in-the-box solution, while to everyone else stuck in a rut, they view it as outside-the-box...

...I'd be cautious in making such a statement (I think there's more than one way to read that). I think one way to get trapped thinking inside-the-box is to spend too much time focusing on the box rather than on the question that needs solving...
Out of the box thinking isn't necessarily radical. Nor does it require focusing on the "box."

I am a mechanical engineering designer and one day I overheard my coworkers talking about a project. It was a simple job to stop toilets at a reststop from sweating condensation onto the floor. The "in the box" suggestions to solve this were, heat the cold well water above the dew point of the room (could be in the 80's or higher), insulate the toilets, or air condition the 100% outside air unit air. I knew the inside of the box methods of handling this problem already, I knew the drawbacks associated with these solutions. They were costly, wasteful, unsanitary and may not solve the problem.

Without going into detail, all I did was combine two "in the box" methods in one "out of the box" approach resulting in colder lower dewpoint air, warmer water delivered to the toilets, and enourmous energy savings over conventional systems.

#### brewnog

Gold Member
Artman said:
Without going into detail, all I did was combine two "in the box" methods in one "out of the box" approach resulting in colder lower dewpoint air, warmer water delivered to the toilets, and enourmous energy savings over conventional systems.
Still can't spell "enormous" though, can you, cleverclogs?

:tongue:

#### Artman

brewnog said:
Still can't spell "enormous" though, can you, cleverclogs?

:tongue:
Yeah, or remember to hit the stupid spellcheck. :yuck:

As people with sinus problems are always saying to me, I spell awful.

#### brewnog

Gold Member
Artman said:
As people with sinus problems are always saying to me, I spell awful.

Heh heh heh!

My sinus problems usually lead me to tell them that "noses run in my family".

#### Artman

brewnog said:
Heh heh heh!

My sinus problems usually lead me to tell them that "noses run in my family".
I like it.

I'm built backwards, my nose runs and my feet smell.

#### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I have definitely grown tired of the metaphors and popular language. In the real world, in my world at least, "think outside the box" is just another way of saying, "be creative". There is no box but there are good solutions. On the other side of things, when many from the fringe crowd say, "think outside the box", or "keep an open mind", what they are really saying is "ignore what you know to be true", or, "let's pretend that we can ignore the hard evidence", which is silly. But then again, when someone fears being so open minded that "their brains might fall out", what they are often saying is, no, "I don't want to consider any idea that I don't already like".

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#### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Along the lines of what Ivan has stated, I am tired of slogans.

As an engineer, I have to deal with real world constaints regarding nuclear systems. It does not good to think "wouldn't it be great if . . ." and ignore the physics of the material and system.

On the other hand, there is value in trying to understand those constraints (e.g. melting point), and how one might move those constraints, or operate with less margin to those constraints.

There are also safety and reliability (economic) issues involved. Thoughtless or wreckless design and engineering can harm people, and that is unacceptable.

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