Da Vinci and the 40 Answers: a playbook for creativity and fresh ideas

We’ve all heard the expression, “think outside the box.” The problem with this concept is that many people do not understand what the box is, much less how to escape this cage. When we are facing a problem, we use what we already know to determine the solution. The box is the frame of reference, the starting point for deductive reasoning.

When we deduce something, we start with a known point. Deductive reasoning applies logic that moves us from the general to the specific by using known facts, definitions, principles, and properties to reach a conclusion.

The problem with “the box” is quite simple. If you’re starting with what is known and you’re only willing to look at what can be extrapolated from the known, then how do you discover a thing that is not directly relative to the known? The answer to this quandary lies in duality.

Duality is the concept of equal but opposite. When we identify a thing – an idea, a concept, a principle, or a problem for example, we must be able to then step back and look at the thing we haven’t been looking at. What is the opposite of this thing or this problem?