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Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results Hardcover – 11 Jun 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (11 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451659253
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451659252
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 667,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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A sumptuously designed, succinct history of the first American President's forge of the Delaware River and the Battle of Trenton recounts key events in dramatic detail and provides complementary historic paintings, illustrations and period maps. 100,000 first printing.

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Format: Paperback
I was lucky enough to see Drew Boyd present the system in Boston at a development training module. It was a revaluation to me to see how the practices can be employed in both innovation and as a problem solving tool. Reading the book since has helped me appreciate these techniques even more and since then I am constantly looking at issues in a clear and concise way.

One word of warning though once you turn this system on in your brain so far it has been hard to turn it off. On a recent flight I sat next to a engineer from Rolls Royce he saw me reading the book and told me this system also helps him almost every day. By the time we had landed, I thought I had a new way to improve efficiency at steam turbine power stations. With the SIT system I found it much easier to develop ideas to a far greater level than I have before.
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By Willow on 19 Sept. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having been a Creative Director for an Advertising agency I feel that I can comment on the contents of this book. It is simply the best example of how thinking can be structured to create new and innovative solutions. If you want to know the process of creative thinking this is a must read.
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By VJ Batkeviciute on 9 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback
Best read on creative thinking that you can apply to you business or art practice.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 34 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I Like Structured Approaches, and This Provides One! 15 Jun. 2013
By Loyd E. Eskildson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The authors have found that CEOs rate the importance of innovation very high - usually a 9 or 10. Without fail, however, most give a low rating to their level of satisfaction with innovation in their firm. The traditional view of creativity is that it is unstructured and doesn't follow rules or patterns. Thus, you need to brainstorm, think outside the box, make wild analogies, and stray far afield to come up with a breakthrough idea. These authors take the opposite perspective, derived from studying hundreds of successful products.

The majority of new, inventive, and successful products result from following five templates - subtraction, division, multiplication, task unification, and attribute dependency. These templates comprise an innovative method called 'Systematic Inventive Thinking' (SIT) that makes creativity accessible to anyone. The bulk of the authors' book is devoted to explaining these methods, along with helpful examples.

The "Subtraction' method usually have had something removed that was previously thought to be essential. Hence, discount airlines, 'ear buds' instead of traditional headphones, and Philips Electronics using the 'Subtraction' technique to simplify DVD controls and displays. Remove a bicycle's rear wheels and you get an exercise bike. The original Sony Walkman was a cassette recorder that had the recording function subtracted.

'Division' utilizes taking a component out of an earlier version and placing it somewhere else. Examples include remote controls, separating the ink cartridge from computer printers to allow easy replacement, allowing travelers to print their boarding pass at home.

'Multiplication' involves copying a component, while changing it in some way. Examples include training wheels on children's bicycles, picture-in-picture TVs, Gillette's 'Twin Blade Shaving System,' and double-sided tape.

'Task Unification' brings certain tasks together. Samsonite used the 'Task Unification' technique to expand into the college backpack market, creating new strap shapes and location to provide a soothing massage sensation instead of back and neck strain. Odor-Eater socks keep one warm and also deodorize, and facial moisturizers now have the added task of providing sunscreen protection.

'Attribute Dependency' correlates two or more attributes, such as windshield wipers that change speed as the amount of rain changes, headlights that automatically dim for oncoming cars, eyewear with lenses that change from light to dark in sunlight, and smartphones provide information dependent on location (eg. restaurants, nearby friends).

Bottom-Line: 'Inside the Box' is an extraordinary and valuable offering.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Creativity is best when it builds on something you already know and has been proven in the market! 12 Jun. 2013
By Craig Matteson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The best business books usually put forward a simple idea in a memorable way. Too many, far too many, are really put out to sell a consulting gig for its authors. Sometimes, they take a fresh look at a business cliché and try to help us see a common problem with fresh eyes and a new mental approach. They are rarely as innovative, earth shattering, or as universally applicable as the authors claim, but if they help you get a handle on what you are facing and give you some mental hooks on how to deal with a certain class of business situations, it is likely worth the time and money you spend on the book.

I think that even the most mind bending ideas can eventually become dead as doornail clichés that cause thinking to stop whenever they are invoked. One of those is "thinking outside the box". We have all been outside the box so long we have forgotten why the box has an inside in the first place: it's because that's where most of the good stuff is. We use boxes to store, package, ship, and use stuff we value. Sure, sometimes there is treasure to be found, outside the box, but what about making sure we are using the stuff inside the box as creatively and as efficiently as we can, first!

This book, from Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg, both experienced marketing guys, provides you with tools to systematically examine what you have in the box and think about how to creatively use it to find new products, new approaches, new value, and life in the products, technologies, and brands you already have. Sure, you might have to eventually head out into the wild blue, but why not start with the stuff you already know, have, and own?

Their systematic approach to creativity begins with two fundamental principles: 1) fast innovation is easiest with what you have near you and using that with which you are most familiar. 2) Rather than starting with a defined problem and trying to find a solution to that single problem, start with abstract solutions and see how it might apply to problems you are facing.

Then they give you five approaches with which to use these two principles.
1) Subtraction - see if everything you think is necessary in your current business approach is really as necessary as you think it is. Not just to streamline or lower costs, but you might find a popular new product waiting to be discovered. Apple found the iTouch by taking the ability to make calls out of the iPhone.

2) Division - Maybe customers are willing to buy PART of the product you are selling now. Think individual portion foods, time shares, or rental cars. At first, you might resist seeing the product because you have always seen it in its present form. But it is possible that one of your customers' barrier to entry is the quantity and price of more than they need.

3) Multiplication - How can you add to what you already have to give customers something they need or want? Does picture-in-picture TV give customers something they want? Apparently so. They are tired of flipping between channels to watch one show while keep track of another.

4) Task Unification - Put products together to create something customers like using together. Shampoos with conditioners. Odor Eater Socks. Sunscreen with moisturizer. Pizza Delivery that also delivers salads and sandwiches.

5) Attribute Dependency - How you use your product changes as conditions change or as some other aspect of your product changes. Think intermittent wipers conditioned on rainfall. Or rear view mirrors that change with the ambient light, or smartphones that use GPS to let you know what is around you that might be of interest. Or baby spoons that change color with the temperature of the food you are serving to warn you if it is too hot!

Yes, this is just one approach to creativity. But if you have ever been facing a big issue and had that mental block that comes with staring at a blank page, having ANY kind of approach to start you along the path to solving it can be good. This approach makes a lot of sense to me. I like simple, systematic, and facing questions rather than a blank wall or an empty sky.

If this sounds interesting to you, get the book, my guess is you will find more stuff than you expect and get a big return on your money and time.

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Saline, MI
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
How and why innovation happens "better and quicker when you work inside the box" 2 Aug. 2013
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg must be courageous fellows because, in this remarkably entertaining as well as informative book, they discuss one of the most controversial business topics: the box metaphor. All manner of questions are evoked. For example, if problems are inside the box, can they be solved by thinking there or must one get outside of the box in order to think through a solution there? If a team is involved, must all of them remain or get out of the box, together...en masse, to solve the given problem? What if the problem in the box is solved outside the box and then, by then, has become a different problem? Then what?

Boyd and Goldenberg suggest five templates that "keep showing up as keys to innovation. The more you learn about this approach, the more ways you will start to see the five techniques being applied to solve tough problems and create all sorts of breakthroughs." As with any such approaches or techniques or methodologies, however, they must be modified to accommodate the given needs, interests, resources, and strategic objectives of the given organization. Boyd and Goldenberg would be among the first to insist that it would be a fool's errand to attempt to apply, immediately, all of their recommendations.

The five are best revealed and explained within the narrative, in context, but I feel comfortable when suggesting that they are fundamentally sound and evidence-driven, based on lessons learned from real people in real organizations, and relevant to almost any enterprise, whatever its size and nature may be.

These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye, also shared to suggest the scope of this book's coverage:

o A Method to Innovate (Pages 2-6)
o How and Why Brainstorming Produces Fewer and Lower-Quality Ideas (30-32)
o An Experiment in Innovation (Drew's Story) (38-45)
o Look for Replacements "Right Under Your Nose" (50-54)
o How to Use Subtraction, and, Common Pitfalls in Using Subtraction (66-69)
o Division: Functional, Physical, and Preserving (75-79
o Experience Is the Best Teacher (Drew's Story) (80-85)
o How to Use Division, and, Common Pitfalls in Using Division (95-96)
o How the Multiplication Technique Works (104-106)
o How to Use Multiplication, and, Common Pitfalls in Using Multiplication (123-128)
o Three Ways to Apply Task Unification (136-143)
o How to Use Unification, and, Common Pitfalls in Unification (156-158)
o Candle in the Wind (167-170)
o How to Use Attribute Dependency, and, Common Pitfalls in Attribute Dependency (179-188)
o The "No Compromise!" Rule in Creative Problem Solving (216-219)

Within the last several years, I have probably read and reviewed more than one hundred books that discuss one or more aspects of creativity. Opinions are divided -- sometimes sharply divided -- among authorities in terms of what creativity is and isn't, how ideas can be generated, within which workplace environment creative thinking is most likely to thrive, whether or not it is better to solve problems inside or outside "box," whether or not there [begin italics] is [end italics] a box, etc.

Is the five-dimensional approach that Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg propose the best? For some who adopt and adapt it, yes, but the more important point is that [begin italics] any [end italics] methodology is better than having none. Moreover, selecting a specific methodology is much less important than the nature and extent of commitment to making it effective throughout the given enterprise, at all levels and in all areas. I agree that if we don't know where we're going, any road will take us there. If we have no methodology or have insufficient commitment to the one we have, our organization's stagnation, deterioration, and demise.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Padding the text obscures the ideas 7 Aug. 2013
By Thad McIlroy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I think that Boyd and Goldenberg have some genuinely new and valuable ideas about creativity. Unfortunately they accepted the idea that semi-scientific business concepts need to be padded out to 250 pages to make the book saleable. The actual actionable ideas are buried in tons of dross, endless anecdotes that do little to illuminate.

The Wall Street Journal ran an excerpt on June 14, 2013 that makes for a better read than the puffery in this volume. The authors are apparently working on an app, which I look forward to testing when it appears.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
interesting concepts but... 5 Jun. 2014
By Diego G Schmunis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like the high level concept of the approach but the book could be a bit tighter and condensed. After a while it starts to feel like a sales pitch for their consulting services. Some of the examples feel like they where intentionally, and only, chosen because they fit the particular technique
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