Search This Blog

Monday, August 23, 2010

Thinking Outside the Box on the Cutting Edge

Everyone wants to be on the cutting edge of their field. I know because they say so.

To get there, they confess that they must "think outside the box."

Only most people don't really know what box they're talking about, and because they have no sense of direction about where the cutting edge is they can't point to it on a map.

Few people can.

Further, some people get mixed up about what the cutting edge is. They confuse it with being outside their comfort zone. That is, they have pushed themselves to try something new and different, and they're taxed and uncomfortable. It feels like a cutting edge situation, but it's not.

Being outside a person's comfort zone is not the same place people mean when they refer to being on the cutting edge of change.

This place is sometimes described as new and improved. Upgraded. (It might even have all the bells and whistles.)

But these sales pitch words are really more about spinning the image of a product than real improvements engineered by a manufacturer who has anticipated a fresh type of demand in the marketplace and met that demand with an evolution in design of a product or fine-tuning of a service.

Frankly, much of the language that we use in everyday business parlance is really more about mimicking sales pitches than declaring an entreprenurial scheme or charting a plan that will take us from the position we're in to the one we need to be in to stay competitive or even, more basically, still employed.

The position we need to be in is on the cutting edge by thinking outside the box; but if you are still using those words to describe what you mean, you aren't really thinking outside the box at all.

The cutting edge must be further away than than what a cliche can explain.

To get there, read the terrific little book "Who Moved My Cheese?" by Johnson and Blanchard. It was published in 1998 and was on the cutting edge of how to adapt to cutting-edge changes in the workplace (and in your daily life, too, by the way).

The information it presents is still just as timely, and because it is, the book truly does sit on the cutting edge of thinking creatively about where you are and where you want to go.


  1. I agree with the idea that being on the cutting edge doesn't mean getting outside your comfort zone. It mainly means being among the first to incorporate new technology into your business. It allows a company to stay ahead of the competition. Also, thinking outside the box helps bring creativity into the workplace instead of performing the same precedures over and over again.

  2. It's true that everyone aspires to have a "cutting edge factor" that they can bring to their jobs. "Thinking outside of the box" can get you there, but it does require more than simply crossing the boundaries of your comfort zone. This ideology equates to discovering new, innovative ideas of how to accomplish something. It may be as simple as appraoching the promblem from a different angle or perspective. Thinking this way can set you apart from others and can prove that you're a proactive, creative individual.