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TEQ Impressions

New boxes

On Oct 31, 2013

So what could BIC, Netflix and Android software possibly have in common?

At first, you may think, not much. But these companies were not just bold enough to think outside the box, but to discard their mental boxes all together and replace them with new ones.

A new book from The Boston Consulting Group, "Thinking in New Boxes" by Alan Iny and Luc de Brabandere explores this new approach to creativity by arguing that that “the most transformational and disruptive solutions come not from tweaking old 'boxes', but from replacing them altogether.”

Case in point. In the 1970’s, BIC refused to remain in the “disposable pen” box and stepped into the “disposable plastic items” box, leading to rapid growth with a new range of products including lighters and shavers. Then, in the 80's, a group of visionaries stepped away from the old “proprietary” software box and leapt into the new box of “free” and “open-sourced” software leading to the development of powerful technologies such as Linux and Android. And, more recently, Netflix stepped outside of the “mail order” and “subscription” boxes to the box of “online streaming,” while Redbox stepped into a new box of “self service.”

A similar example in the thermoforming industry is the introduction of DPET™ technology to the packaging industry in 2008, producing the first and only direct-to-sheet PET sheet that eliminates five states of conventional sheet production.

At TEQ, “new box” thinking like this is at the heart of what we do. We approach each and every project by challenging preconceptions and acknowledging that continuing with the status quo may not always be the best approach.

However, at TEQ even “new box” ideas, like DPET, are subject to scrutiny. While this material offers distinct environmental advantages because of the decreased manufacturing energy consumption, we wondered how we could create a supply chain that incorporated DPET beyond its typical use. As a result, we have developed a method of reusing DPET web scrap, making a an environmentally-friendly material even more sustainable.

What about you? Have you ever gone beyond thinking outside of the box to stepping into a brand new one?

Todd McDonald

By Todd McDonald

A creative, customer-based problem solver, Todd has over 20 years of industry experience. Starting as a designer, he moved on to engineering project management, then transitioned into sales. It is this diverse background that gives him a “unique, multi-faceted understanding of business” that generates unexpected, smart solutions.

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