9 professional synonyms for “think outside the box” (2023)

The ability to “think outside the box” shows you can apply yourself and your knowledge in areas that others may have missed. Of course, there are some professional ways of saying this, too, and this article will examine some of the best options available to you.

9 professional synonyms for “think outside the box” (1)

The preferred variants are “apply yourself”, “think outside the box” and “be creative”. All three sayings are great for showing that we want someone to express themselves in a more creative or imaginative way. This could help solve problems that others might overlook.

Try yourself

"Apply" is a great way to show you're willing to think outside the box and see things that others might not see. When you “apply” to your business, it means you put a lot of care, thought, or time into the work you produce.

So when someone says “apply yourself” it means you should think harder about your solution.

People will use this phrase when they believe in you. If they know you can come up with something more imaginative than you already have, you'll likely find them using this phrase to encourage you to do so.

  • I want you to apply. I know you are capable of more and I want to see what you can do when you are in control.
  • I needyou allto commit more. Why do you think I hired any of you? It wasn't your good looks.
  • Just apply yourself and you might be surprised what you find out! You never know!

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See The Big Picture

"Thinking outside the box" is an idiomatic expression that works well in a professional context. We can use this to refer to thinking outside the box as it encourages someone to look into the larger idea of ​​a solution rather than the smaller problems.

On the surface, it can be easy to focus on the little things that you feel need changing. If you allow yourself to see the bigger picture, you will be shown that there is more going on than you first thought.

This usually helps people find more creative ways to solve something. Professional environments are always looking for people with the ability to think this way.

  • I can see the bigger picture now. I know what my boss asked me to do and I will do itbe sure tolet him know my solution.
  • It's time for you all to see the bigger picture. We can't always revolve around the same ideas, because that doesn't get us anywhere.
  • If you can't see the big picture then I really don't know why you are here. They offer us nothing new.

Be creative

"Be creative" is a simple phrase we can use to replace thinking outside the box. It works well because it acts as a prompt using the verb "to be". In this way we can encourage someone to be more creative in solving problems.

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  • I want you to be creative before you come to me with ideas like this again. Is that so much to ask?
  • please be creative I don't think you're trying hard enough to find something that actually works.
  • Let's be creative together. I know that if we just put our two heads together once, we can come up with something.

think about it

"Think about it" is a simple phrase that we can use in a professional setting. It encourages someone to think a little harder. If they have already found a solution but it's not what we're looking for, we could encourage them with this sentence.

For example, if we need to solve a problem, we may turn to another colleague for help. You could suggest a way, but we've tried it before and it didn't work.

Now imagine if we knew that the colleague we asked has a brilliant mind. You are more than capable of finding something better than this solution. We could say "think about it" to encourage them to invest more time in their solution.

If they've thought about it, they should be able to give us an actual solution that works.

  • Before either of you respond, I encourage you to think about it. I think you are all able to figure this out.
  • I want you to think about it longer. I know you have it in you You just have to find it.
  • Think about it for a second. Why should this solution make sense? I know you know a better one!

enter new territory

"Breaking new ground" is a professional idiom used to ask someone to come up with new ideas. When we “break new ground” it means we have explored ideas no one has spent time on before.

It comes from the idea of ​​exploring new countries or continents. At the groundbreaking ceremony, you are the first to enter the country. Normally you would place a flag to represent the civilization you are from.

The same can be applied toPursue. You can “lay the groundwork” with a new idea as long as no one else has had the same idea before you.

  • I would like to break new ground one day. I'm very imaginative, but I can't think of anything new at work.
  • It's time to break new ground, Sarah. I want to see that you really care about this company.
  • I want to break new ground. I impressed my boss with what I said last time, but I can do better than that.

generate ideas

"Generate ideas" is a simple phrase that works well. It's another form of encouragement, directing a colleague or co-worker to go away and "generate" something new that might impress us.

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It doesn't necessarily mean that they have new or imaginative ideas, but it is inferred from the context. If they haven't come up with anything creative yet, we could use that as encouragement.

  • It's about time you came up with some ideas before you get back to me with anything.Much luckwith it.
  • I will generate ideas and get back to you. I know that we will come to an agreement in no time.
  • Let's generate ideas to present to the boss. I think that will help us regain his trust after that mishap.

Be unconventional

"Be unconventional" works well in a professional setting. "Unconventional" thoughts are great ways to see what might come to someone's mind. Usually this helps solve problems that others may not be able to.

Most people think “conventionally”. This means that they are only looking at a problem on the surface. If you can dig deeper and come to your own conclusions, chances are you're able to think outside the box.

  • You've got to be unconventional on this project, Matt. I know you have much to offer that will help us.
  • I want to be unconventional. It's time I showed my colleagues what I can do and I think I've earned that right.
  • Be unconventional whenever you have the opportunity. It's the best way to show your skills and I think it will do you good.

trust your instincts

"Trust your instincts" means someone believes in you to find a good solution. Thinking outside the box means you are looking for something that others may be overlooking. "Trust Your Instincts" works the same way, especially when it goes against other suggestions.

Let's say you've thought about your own solution for a project, but no one has mentioned it yet.

Most people wouldn't mention their solution because they would think it's wrong. After all, no one has said anything yet, so what makes you think you know more?

Well, if you trust your instincts, go for itmuch moreSuccess. If it's the first thing that came to your mind and it's a good solution, you should let someone know.

  • I need you all to trust your instincts. Do whatever comes naturally and we will surely find a reasonable solution.
  • Trust your instincts, Nate. It's about time you try to put in a little more effort to show us what you're made of.
  • I want to trust my instincts, but I always worry that nobody will listen to me. I hate living like this!

Be resourceful

"Be resourceful" is another suggestion we can use in a professional setting. This time we're using "imaginative" to show that we can come up with fresh, new, or creative ideas.

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  • I would appreciate if you would be resourceful when we talk about these things. It is important that you know why you are here.
  • Let's be imaginative and show him what we can come up with. I guess we'll surprise him.
  • I would like to try to be imaginative more often. I need to take a few courses to make sure I know what I'm doing.

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9 professional synonyms for “think outside the box” (2)

Martin Lassen

Martin has a Master's degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with customers, executives and colleagues. He also has teaching experience at Aarhus University. Martin was recognized as an expert in communication and teachingForbesAndShopify.Read more about MartinHere.

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What can I say instead of thinking outside the box? ›

Think outside the box: Stop using these business jargon and what to use instead
  • =1. ...
  • =1. ...
  • Outside the box (17.06%) Use this instead: “Think creatively” or “Think in an unconventional way”
  • Going the extra mile (16.66%) Use this instead: “To do more than is expected of you”
Feb 14, 2020

How do you describe a person who thinks outside the box? ›

It is supposed to mean thinking creatively, freely, and off the beaten path.

What is an example for thinking outside the box? ›

A simple example. Let's say you need to sharpen a pencil but the pencil sharpener is broken. If you limit yourself to thinking about fixing the sharpener that may take too long. But when you broaden your scope of relevance, you go from looking for a sharpener to looking for a sharp object.

What is another word for critical thinking? ›

Synonyms for critical thinking include brainstorming, conceptualising, conceptualizing, deliberating, inventing, problem solving, reasoning, thinking, abstract thought and consideration.

What's another way to say out of the box? ›

What is another word for out-of-the-box?
exceptionaloff the beaten track
off the wallbizarre
idiosyncraticout of the box
235 more rows

What is the ability to think out-of-the-box called? ›

out-of-the-box thinking Add to list Share. Definitions of out-of-the-box thinking. thinking that moves away in diverging directions so as to involve a variety of aspects and which sometimes lead to novel ideas and solutions; associated with creativity. synonyms: divergent thinking. Antonyms: convergent thinking.

What is a word for someone who fits in everywhere? ›

versatile Add to list Share.

What is the word for someone who thinks they are superior? ›

One of the most common words to describe someone who thinks they are better than someone else is arrogant. Another very common word to describe such a person is proud.

How do you answer thinking outside the box question? ›

The response to questions to thinking outside the box must highlight the specific circumstance, the individual's role and objective in the particular context, and the ultimate outcome of the scenario.

How do you answer a time you thought outside the box? ›

Use these steps to formulate your answer:
  1. Think about a time when you solved a problem in a unique way.
  2. Apply the key skills you want to highlight.
  3. Provide specific examples of how you applied the skills you want to highlight.
  4. Create a direct and clear answer.
Mar 16, 2021

How do you answer thinking out of the box? ›

To help you give a clear and concise answer, follow the tips below.
  1. Step 1: Think about your greatest achievements. ...
  2. Step 2: Make sure it's positive. ...
  3. Step 3: Use the STAR method. ...
  4. Step 4: Be interesting. ...
  5. Step 5: Practice, practice and practice.
Apr 19, 2022

What are the 9 Elements of critical thinking? ›

These are clarity, precision, accuracy, relevance, depth, breadth, logicalness, significance, and fairness.

What are the 7 types of critical thinking? ›

The key critical thinking skills are: analysis, interpretation, inference, explanation, self-regulation, open-mindedness, and problem-solving.

What are the 9 critical thinking? ›

Teach the 9 traits that are characteristic of skillful critical thinkers: Adapt, Examine, Create, Communicate, Collaborate, Reflect, Strive, Link, and Inquire. By integrating these 9 traits across the curriculum, educators can build a school-wide thinking culture that supports student growth and achievement.

What is another word for divergent thinking? ›

Alternate Synonyms for "divergent thinking":

out-of-the-box thinking; thinking; thought; thought process; cerebration; intellection; mentation.

What's another way of saying carry out? ›

synonyms for carry out

On this page you'll find 71 synonyms, antonyms, and words related to carry out, such as: accomplish, achieve, execute, finalize, implement, and perform.

What does out-of-the-box mean in business? ›

An out-of-the-box feature or functionality (also called OOTB or off the shelf), particularly in software, is a native feature or built-in functionality of a product that comes directly from the vendor and works immediately when the product is placed in service.

Is thinking outside the box a skill? ›

Being able to think creatively and consider situations from different perspectives is a valuable skill in the workplace. Many people can develop effective solutions to problems and become more productive when they make an effort to change their usual mindsets and strategies.

What is the ability to think things through? ›

Metacognition is the ability to think about your own thinking. Critical thinkers should be able to analyze their thoughts so that they can judge whether or not they've thought everything through. This helps them come up with better hypotheses.

What is thinking outside the box in management? ›

Simply put, 'thinking outside the box' means thinking creatively, addressing problems in new and innovative ways and doing things different to the norm.

What is one word for open minded person? ›

synonyms for open-minded

approachable. impartial. observant. tolerant. acceptant.

What is a synonym for open mindset? ›

synonyms for open-mindedness
  • acceptance.
  • broad-mindedness.
  • impartiality.
  • interest.
  • observance.
  • receptiveness.
  • receptivity.
  • responsiveness.

What do you call a person who speaks their mind? ›

outspoken Add to list Share. If you often freely speak your mind, people may say that you are outspoken.

What do you call a person who thinks deeply about things? ›

A thinker is a person who spends a lot of time thinking deeply about important things, especially someone who is famous for thinking of new or interesting ideas. ... some of the world's greatest thinkers. Synonyms: philosopher, intellect [informal], wise man, sage More Synonyms of thinker.

What do you call a person who only cares about themselves? ›

selfish Add to list Share. Someone who is selfish cares only about themselves and doesn't consider others.

What do you call a person who thinks they know everything but doesn t? ›

Definitions of know-it-all. someone who thinks he knows everything and refuses to accept advice or information from others. synonyms: know-all. type of: egoist, egotist, swellhead. a conceited and self-centered person.

Can you give me an example of a situation where you used creative thinking? ›

There are plenty of examples of creative thinking/doing skills in a work situation, from devising a social media strategy for a new product; to arranging an in-store display for maximum impact; to devising a new way of processing reimbursements; to strengthening the quality of customer service (with proven results).

How do you answer critical thinking interview questions? ›

One of the key elements of critical thinking is open-mindedness. Potential employers want to see your ability to consider new ideas to improve processes or solve difficult problems, so give a specific example from your past. Your answer should also include how this open-mindedness benefited you and your work.

What would best describe think time from the following options? ›

Answer: Think time is the wait time inserted intentionally between the actions in the script to emulate real user`s wait time while performing an activity on the application.

What do you call a person who is broad minded? ›

free from prejudice or bigotry; unbiased; liberal; tolerant. SYNONYMS open-minded, catholic, flexible; permissive.

What is the best synonym for mindset? ›

synonyms for mind-set
  • attitude.
  • demeanor.
  • frame of mind.
  • inclination.
  • mental state.
  • mood.
  • perspective.
  • philosophy.

What is a synonym for growth mindset? ›

Optimistic, Open, Opportunist, Ownership, Organised, Overcoming, Outward looking.

What are synonyms for mindset? ›

synonyms for mindset

On this page you'll find 35 synonyms, antonyms, and words related to mindset, such as: attitude, ethos, mentality, psyche, behaviorism, and medicine.

What is one word for open-minded person? ›

synonyms for open-minded

approachable. impartial. observant. tolerant. acceptant.

How do you describe an open-minded person? ›

Definition. Open-mindedness is the willingness to search actively for evidence against one's favored beliefs, plans, or goals, and to weigh such evidence fairly when it is available. Being open-minded does not imply that one is indecisive, wishy-washy, or incapable of thinking for one's self.


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