Luc de Brabandere

Luc de Brabandere is a fellow and a senior advisor in the Paris office of The Boston Consulting Group. He leads strategic seminars with boards, senior executives and managers from a wide range of companies looking to develop new visions, new products and services and long-term scenarios to prepare the future.

He is the author or co-author of 12 books.

He also teaches at the Louvain school of management and at the Ecole Centrale in Paris.

Shifting your perspective – and thinking in a ‘new box’ – can transform your company and create new opportunities for the future. Models, concepts and frameworks are – to use another phrase – mental boxes within which we comprehend the real world. And ever since the 1960s, we have been taught to be creative by “thinking outside the box.” The trouble is this: once you have mentally stepped outside the box, what happens next? The space outside the box is very expansive – infinitely so – and there can be no guarantee that you will find a solution to your problem. So the answer is that you need to find a new box. And you must consciously build or choose that box yourself; if you do not, an unconscious process will do it for you. The way we think means that we cannot be creative in a constructive way without inventing models or boxes. Ideally, you need to develop a number of new boxes – new models, new scenarios, new ways of approaching a problem – to structure your thinking. The challenge – and the real art of creativity – is to know how to build those new boxes and, in the process, provide the framework for fresh imaginative effort. Let’s take an example from outside the medtech industry before considering how we might apply this approach to meet the healthcare needs of the future. Half a century ago, Bic, a French stationery company, brought to market the idea of making low-cost pens.Some creative brainstorming produced a series of variations on the theme: two colors, three colors, gold trim, advertising logos, erasers, and so forth. But who would have imaged Bic making a razor? Or a lighter? Bic could come up with those ideas only by adopting a radical change...