Improving Business by Changing Your Thinking

Photo of Marcel Marceau a Bip inside an invisible box,

The year was 1956 and a classically trained dramatic street performer, having achieved perfection in the art of Mime, walks silently onto a stage.  The theater audience and the loyal television viewers of the famed Ed Sullivan Show would see for the first time the expressionistic white-faced “Bip” as he glides toward the center of the stage. Suddenly his body is jolted to a halt when he collides with an invisible wall.  Stunned and confused, he begins feeling his way along the face of this all too real barrier when he realizes that the wall now surrounds him.  Suddenly captured within a box which sides and top are made so clear to the viewers, they watch as every muscle within his body strains as he tries to penetrate this invisible prison.  His white face grimaces with each disappointing attempt until finally, he finds a hole through which he squeezes his escape.

“The Box” not only became a signature piece for Marcel Marceau, but it also opened the minds of audiences around the world.  His silent expressions and control of his body conveyed even the most profound emotions to his audience, and “The Box” was as real to the viewer as any material object could be.

In the 70s, the box became a reference point as to how one thinks. Are you a prisoner within this imaginary cube, satisfied with your incarceration and the Statius Quo of life?  Or do you let your mind escape beyond these invisible bonds to explore new visions? Business consultants used it as a catchphrase, thinking outside the box.

Is your business stuck in a box and doing things the same way as every other business? Has COVID caused you to rethink the way you operate?

Some may refer to out-of-the-box thinking as innovative.

According to the U.S. National Innovation Initiative (bet you did not know there was such an initiative), innovation is “The intersection of invention and insight, leading to a creation of social and economic value.” The U.K. Department of Trade and Industry identifies innovation as “The development of new ideas and their economic application as new products or processes.”

One of the foremost out-of-the-box thinkers is Edward Charles Francis Publius de Bono, a physician, psychologist, inventor, philosopher, and consultant. In 1967, de Bono introduced a method for teaching thinking as a skill. He called it Lateral Thinking.

According to de Bono, a healthy human brain does not want to always be creative; it is designed to figure out how to do things or how to think about things and then ‘locks’ that automatic response or behavior into a subconscious process so that your conscious brain can focus on other matters.

Albert Einstein agreed with this theory and said, “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again, in the same way, expecting different results.”

Dr. de Bono developed the Lateral Thinking techniques to help overcome our natural proclivity to get ‘locked’ into patterns and allow you to be creative on demand. His techniques have been used by individuals, groups, and Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, Du Pont, Prudential, AT&T, Siemens, and many others as a way to develop creative and innovative ideas. Without realizing it, you have probably used a product that resulted from de Bono’s Lateral Thinking technique.

According to de Bono, trying to think harder in the same direction may not be as useful as changing direction. Lateral thinking deliberately distances itself from “vertical” or logical thinking, where you work out a solution step-by-step from the given data. In lateral or “horizontal” thinking, you use your imagination to develop many ideas, no matter how wild or crazy, without being concerned with implementation details. Then pick a few game-changing ideas that can differentiate your business or product from the competition and work out the details.

As we begin to exit the pandemic lockdown and assess what normal will look like in the future, a lateral thinking brainstorming session might be the answer to team building and finding new ways to do business. You might even find de Bono’s concept of Six Thinking Hats will aid in the process.

At Business Finance Corporation (BFC), our job is to turn reliable accounts receivables into productive cash that will help businesses stay current with their financial obligations and even take advantage of opportunities that allow for expansion. Call BFC at 702-947-3800 or go to to see how we can help you think outside the box.