By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The search for the “next big thing” often brings calls to think outside the box, but that may be the wrong way to look at it.

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“The box” is kind of mental shorthand, which Alan Iny of the Boston Consulting Group says is not all bad:

“You know, the rainbow has seven colors or basketball players are tall, or it could be more complex things like a strategy or a market segmentation, and so saying ‘think outside the box’ is like saying ‘don’t drive on the highway’ without giving you any suggestion of what to do instead.”

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For such a suggestion, in fact, a five-step approach to creativity, Iny is co-author of “Thinking in New Boxes: Five Esstenial Steps to Spark the Next Big Idea.”

From doubting everything to constantly re-evaluating, it offers a formula for plugging in your situation, whether business or personal, and seeing it in a new light.

“You can be very creative without coming up with a single new idea. Sometimes, if you change the way at existing ideas, just like BIC changed the way they thought of themselves, from a pen company to a disposable plastic object company, suddenly the door can be opened to a lot of things. You can be very creative without new ideas without new ideas as long as you change the way you look at existing things.”

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Iny says the lifespan of a good idea is shorter than ever, so you might just want to get a move on.