What Is Another Way to Say “Think Outside the Box”?

If you’re a person who thinks outside the box, how can you express this in a work scenario?

In this article, we’ll look at 7 alternative phrases that you can use when this phrase starts to feel worn out.

Thereafter, we’ll discuss whether it’s correct to use the phrase think outside the box in a professional setting.

7 Alternative Ways to Say “Think Outside the Box”

Below, you’ll find 7 other ways to say think outside the box at work:

  • Be creative
  • Think holistically
  • Innovative thinking
  • Break new ground
  • Think differently
  • Resourceful
  • Generate new ideas

1. Be Creative

To think outside the box essentially means to be creative.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense to simply use the synonym be creative when you are trying to encourage employees or trainees to explore new, inventive ideas in the workplace.

The phrase be creative comes across as rather instructive.

Thus, it works well if you are a mentor or senior member of your team giving guidance and direction to those under you.

Check out how we’ve used this phrase in an email sample:

Dear Oscar,

I have assigned this task to you with the hopes that you can bring a new perspective to the design.

I would encourage you to be creative and show your unique style in your drafts.

Kind regards,

2. Think Holistically

The phrase think holistically is a different way to say think outside the box in your resume, especially if you want to impress the hiring manager without resorting to tired clichés.

Essentially, if you are a holistic thinker, this means that you can see how different components of something interact.

Therefore, you are able to come up with ideas and solutions that address the bigger picture, rather than just the elements that make up that bigger picture.

This is certainly a sought-after trait in an employee.

Therefore, let’s see an example resume snippet with this phrase in tow:

One of my greatest strengths is my ability to think holistically when faced with a complex business issue.

3. Innovative Thinking

A phrase like innovative thinking is sure to impress clients who are looking for new and unique ways of doing business.

Therefore, you can use this phrase in your client acquisition tactics.

This may include direct emails to clients in which you might discuss your organization and the services you provide.

With the word “innovative,” you are promising original methods and ways of thinking from your team.

These qualities are highly sought after by consumers and the public.

See the email example below:

Dear Mr. Qubeka,

Thank you for considering us for this event.

I am confident that the innovative thinking and goal-oriented methodology of my team will revitalize your brand and meet your every expectation.

Senzo Tsipa

4. Break New Ground

Break new ground is another good buzz phrase that you can use in your promotional emails to clients and customers.

To break new ground means to do something in a new and exciting way, thereby altering your industry and potentially the world.

After all, you can’t think or create something new if you don’t think beyond the parameters of what is normal and accepted in your industry or society.

Let’s see a sample email that includes this phrase:

Dear Valued Customer,

Here at [Company Name], we are working to break new ground in the field of sustainable and humane cosmetics.

Click the link below to learn more about our mission.

Mona Livingston (CEO)

5. Think Differently

Another way to say think outside the box is think differently.

This phrase is another popular way to promote your business or company to your clients and the public at large through your marketing.

Therefore, this is another alternative that you can include in a promotional email.

For example:

Dear Miss Rheon,

For our New Year’s resolution, we have decided to think differently about how we can solve your business needs and pursuits.

Check out our brochure to learn more.

Josh at [Company Name]

6. Resourceful

Instead of saying that you think outside the box in your resume or job application, you can simply describe yourself as resourceful.

Being resourceful means that you are able to come up with fast and intelligent ways of addressing problems in a professional capacity.

This is something that employers look for.

After all, problem-solving skills and the ability to think on your feet are very valuable in a corporate setting.

Consider the example below:

I was described as highly resourceful in my previous role as a project manager, and I believe this skill will continue to serve me and my company in future roles.

7. Generate New Ideas

Another professional way to say think outside the box is generate new ideas.

This phrase uses more formal phrasing to talk about the process of solving problems creatively and using new concepts and methods to address issues within an industry.

Therefore, you can use this phrase in an email to one or more of your employees when you want to encourage innovation and imaginative ideas in the workplace.

Once again, this phrase is instructive and suitable for you to use as an employer or supervisor.

Have a look at how we’ve used it in our final email example:

Hi Team,

In preparation for this year’s convention, we need to generate new ideas about how to address our client’s business needs in the current environment.

Joan Smithers

Is It Correct to Say “Think Outside the Box”?

It is correct to say that you or someone else is able to think outside the box when you want to comment on your or another person’s creativity and unique outlook.

You can use this phrase in professional settings.

However, you should avoid this phrase in your resume. Lately, it has been considered too cliché to include.

Employers and recruiters would prefer that you illustrate your creative thinking in your resume by providing examples of some of your ideas and how this has impacted your work experience.

In short, if you use this phrase in your CV, it should only be to introduce examples of how you have thought “outside the box.”

Below, we’ve drafted two examples of how you can use this phrase in practice:

First, let’s see a professional email sample that includes this phrase:

Dear Wanda,

The client is rather eccentric, so we will need to think outside the box if we want to impress them.

Kind regards,

Next, let’s see a snippet from a faux resume that includes this phrase:

I have always made an effort to think outside the box when it comes to brand design.

Now, let’s see a slight variation of this phrase and discuss its correctness:

  • Correct: Think outside the box.
  • Correct: Think outside of the box.

Although think outside the box is the more popular variation of this phrase, it is not grammatically incorrect to include the preposition “of.”

So, we know that the phrase think outside the box is correct. But, as we have discussed, it is very standardized and is considered a cliché.

Therefore, you can use our list of phrases for thinking outside the box to mix up your language and show your uniqueness in a professional setting.

Kahlan House