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

4.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Among the few ideas that have fundamentally changed how I look at life is the idea that creativity can be simple and systematic. In this book Boyd and Goldenberg explain the basic building blocks for creativity and by doing so help all of us better express our potential.” (Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational)

“Why wait for a brilliant idea to hit like a bolt from the blue? You can increase the odds of a creative lightning strike just by learning and applying a few simple tools—ones that have proven their effectiveness time and again. The 'inside-the-box approach' described by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg can reveal key opportunities for innovation that are hiding in plain sight. It’s hard to imagine a real-world problem that wouldn’t be amenable to their approach.” (Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell is Human and Drive)

“Innovation means a lot of things to a lot of people. Unfortunately, this can make it difficult to actually innovate—especially for big, established companies. Inside the Box uses very practical methods to take the mystery out of innovation and provides a roadmap for getting real results.” (David Butler, Vice President, Innovation, The Coca-Cola Company)

“What’s Inside the Box? In this case, a remarkably original way of thinking about and implementing creativity in the workplace. If you’re interested in gaining a competitive edge over your rivals, open this package (of truly impressive insights) first.” (Robert B. Cialdini, author of Influence: Science and Practice and Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University)

“Many books are written on the topic of stimulating creativity, but the practical examples provided here make Boyd and Goldenberg’s advice stand out from the crowd. A captivating and fun read that adds insight to product design.” (Library Journal)

About the Author

Drew Boyd is assistant professor of marketing and innovation at the University of Cincinnati. He trains and consults in the fields of innovation, marketing, persuasion, and social media. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Jacob Goldenberg is a marketing professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He studies creativity, new product development, innovation, market dynamics, and the effects of social networks. He lives in Jerusalem, Israel.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451659253
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451659252
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #585,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
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Comment 11 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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?
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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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
No argument that the short stories add some flavor to the reading. But there is nothing new or creative here that differs from the SCAMPER process (Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify/distort, Put to other purposes, Eliminate, Rearrange/Reverse) that you can find through an Internet search. And you save the $28.00+ purchase price of the book.
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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.
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