Posted by Masakim on March 28, 2004
In Reply to: Re: Out-of-the-box vs. outside the box posted by Smokey Stover on March 28, 2004
: : : What is the origin of the phrase 'out-of -the-box', as aused in 'thinking out-of-the-box'?
: : type "outside box" in the Search box, and you'll find a previous discussion
: Thinking OUTSIDE the box (which is similar to coloring outside the lines) should not be confused with "out-of-the-box." The latter expression, often preceded by "right" as in "right out of the box," means so new that the speaker hasn't had time to break anything yet, or "brand new."
think out of the box
to think about sth, or how to do sth, in a new, a different or an imaginative way: "Discover how thinking out of the box delivers creative solutions for your needs." "Thinking out of the box would improve public education." "Some entrepreneurs hit it big by simply thinking out of the box." "I understand this whole concept of wanting to think out of the box and challenge people and so forth."
This new idiom is especially common in connection with business, particularly when talking about finding solutions to problems, developing new concepts or changing the way that people work.
From "Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary: Word of the Month"