I am childless, so it was with great irony that I shared a list of local activities for kids with a mom of four. She knew I had such a list because each summer I host “Aunt Camp” for my niece but it still struck me as an unlikely request. When I laughed about it, she said “You think outside the box a bit better than me.”

The funny thing is that I have never felt that way about myself. Yes, I am an innovator and have led many change efforts in my day but most of the out-of-the-box aspect of that work comes from surrounding myself with others who have bold and crazy ideas and by creating a safe space that frees them to share those thoughts. My contribution is being able to pitch those ideas at the right time, breaking through barriers, and creating conditions for “out-of-the-boxness” to thrive. Like with the list of summer activities for kids, I’m also an expert curator who saves ideas in an ongoing and organized way so I have ideas to build on and don’t have to start from scratch when I’m trying to stimulate a new thought.

I’ve written about Patrick Lencioni’s new book Working Genius before (dot #3726) and this is another scenario that validates his premise. You don’t need to master all phases of the process. Keeping a box (or 20) of ideas can help others use them as stepping stones to begin their own out-of-the-box thinking. Both have their place in achieving creative outcomes.

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