Thinking outside the box…and inside the kettle

How-to-use-MIITO‘Let’s think outside the box here’ is one of the trite cliches trotted out every now and then to encourage the incubation of fresh ideas, products, services and ways of approaching challenges.

A laudable sentiment, for sure, but unfortunately a lot of the ‘out of the box’ thinking that is supposed to arise from these ‘brainstorming sessions’ turns out to be woefully inside the box, though sometimes located in a different corner.

I am always delighted when I see the product of thinking that truly is outside the box. Like this inside out kettle conceived by Miito.

One of the problems with thinking outside the box is that the very words concede that there is a box to begin with. And many times the box that we should be thinking outside of (and which ends up constraining us and leading to conventional ideas) is not the solution box, but the problem box.

Mito did it differently. Rather than trying to design a different kettle (there’s the box!), they decided to design a new way of heating water.

That, in turn, led to dissecting the real problem – which is that a tremendous amount of energy is wasted by everyone when heating more water than they are actually going to use to make tea or coffee (or whatever). Their research showed people used twice as much water as they needed.

This in turn led to Mito putting the heating element inside the water rather than putting the water inside a heating container.

You can read more about it here »»

For me, therein lies the lesson. When asked to think outside the box to find a solution, flip it around and try to think outside the box to find the real problem.