Doing Away With the Box

 What does it mean to do away with the box completely?

I used to do a training exercise to encourage creativity. It involved having participants list all of the “birds” they could think of.  Initially all of the birds mentioned were certifiable Audubon candidates. Then someone would mention Big Bird. Larry Bird and Lady Bird would follow. 777s and Superman were also popular. Although the instant someone mentioned Superman, another participant would inevitably say, “Superman isn’t a bird.” That would bring up the question of whether anything that flies should be on the list.

At that point some participants started to very specifically define the parameters of their “bird box.” By the time someone got around to mentioning giving someone “the bird,” the controversy would be full blown. But even if everyone eventually agreed to include all of these as birds, if someone tried to get “gullible” on the list, that’s when most participants retreated inside their box and pulled the lid firmly shut, leaving the “gullible” participant without a box to call their own.

To me, doing away with the box completely means to push or break through the parameters of traditional ways of thinking about something.