Engineering problems from a practical perspective.

5. - Thinking Inside The Box

From time to time senior management buys into various schemes for 'business improvement'. Invariably they employ contractors who cram up on the 'new' theory before inflicting their expertise on the unwilling workforce. What could possibly go wrong? 

MOD, circa 2000

The contractor's 'facilitator' duly arrived with her 'toolkit'. She had been given the department's meeting room for the day in which to present her message. The title of this particular session was 'Thinking Outside The Box' and she set to, to prepare the room for her victims..

At the appointed time her audience filed in, to find that the meeting room had been transformed. Every vertical surface, except for the door and the windows had been covered with sheets of brown wrapping paper. This was all part of the system, 'the brown paper exercise'.

Somehow it didn't seem right that 'thinking outside the box' should be taught by textbook 'thinking inside the box', thinking. Why brown paper? Why not white paper? Why not use the expensive white boards on every wall that had been elaborately covered in brown paper?