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Think Outside the

Building
Introduction
• Thinking outside the box is a
popular metaphor for
creativity.
• But recent major systemic
challenges (the financial
crisis, health care reform,
and climate change, among
others) require new ideas
significantly bigger than a
mere box.
Important
• The greatest future
breakthroughs will
come from leaders
who encourage
thinking outside a
whole building full of
boxes.
Inside-the-building
Thinking
• Inside-the-building thinking is
the hallmark of establishments,
whose structures inhibit
innovation.
• Once the architecture is set,
vested interests divide up the
floors and reinforce existing
patterns and practices.
Developing
New Solutions
• They pay most attention to
similar-looking competitors
in markets already served.
• They focus on enhancing
the use of existing
capabilities rather than
developing new solutions
to emerging problems.
Steps Outside the
Building
• In contrast, even small steps
outside the building facilitate
productive change.
• Many technology companies
place engineers in customers’
facilities to shorten feedback
loops for rapid prototyping of
new products.
Business Cases
Brazil
• The Bank Santander in
Brazil increases its
attractiveness to top
talent by mounting crime-
reduction and cleanup
efforts in bank
neighborhoods.
Business Cases
Japan & USA
• At Japanese electronics maker
Omron, sales representatives
identify product development
opportunities by finding customers’
unsolved problems.
• IBM educates future global leaders
outside classrooms, sending
diverse teams to unfamiliar
countries to tackle tough
challenges.
Business Cases
USA
• To speed innovation at P&G,
former CEO A.G. Lafley
looked well outside the
building.
• He built on Peter Drucker’s
concept of the meaningful
outside and had employees
identify consumers’ needs by
living in people’s homes.
Conclusion
• To foster innovation and
transformation, leaders should
focus on impact, not inputs.
• They should identify unsolved
problems, map the wider system
influencing results, and determine
weak links to strengthen or gaps
to fill.
Conclusion

• But to do all that


effectively, they must
first jump out of the
box and leave the
building.
Lico Reis Consultoria
& Línguas
Roberto Lico Reis

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