Certainly, we all remember Napster, the online service which enabled people to illegally trade and download music to their computers for free.
You’ll also likely recall that Napster had the record companies, publishers and distributors stumped for years regarding how to combat the piracy of their content…licensed music.
While Napster’s practices (as they were then) were eventually shutdown by the courts for infringement of copyrighted music, the music industry itself never came close to producing a solution for their Napster problem. Not until an outside entity came around (Apple), could anything resembling a solution (iTunes) be identified. […]
Indeed Apple had very smart people involved (Jobs, etc.), but a significant part of the music industry’s dilemma stemmed from the fact that the record companies executives couldn’t resolve a business problem like they hadn’t encountered before. It was outside their realm of thinking. Their perspective was narrow and they weren’t able to consider all options because they were “programmed” to think differently. Very smart people in their own right, but short on ideas outside of their “box”…
Companies and even entire industries, like individuals, tend to develop and then operate within patterns of thinking. These patterns help form a company’s culture and a routine way of doing business but are also powerful inhibitors. They inhibit development of new ideas, innovation and the ability to solve unusual problems. Causing a difficulty to “think outside of the box”….repeated patterns of thinking is what creates the box in the first place.
In a world of less complicated minds, there wouldn’t be boxes. We’d be able to always see things clearly, with wide perspectives and no limitations. Most aren’t able to stray too far from the proverbial box. It’s partly how the brain inherently is but also what it becomes accustomed (trained) to over time.
Problem solving, new products creation, moving anything to a higher level and other designs for improvement require new ideas. And new ideas must come from somewhere. If and when things feel “stuck” it’s likely due to current and recurring patterns of thinking. To break through that, methods of encouraging new ideas must either be developed or imported.
Just like the record companies; without new ideas, we’re screwed!