Impact & Expertise

BCG Fellow

Luc De Brabandere: Thinking in New Boxes

deBrabandere_Luc_Thumb_lgLuc de Brabandere is a senior advisor to BCG. He specializes in creativity, scenario building, and strategic vision techniques applied to business.

Luc has been a BCG Fellow since 2008. His research topic is thinking in new boxes. People cannot help using mental models, frameworks, and theories—or “boxes”—to organize their thinking. Thinking “outside the box” is neither as desirable nor as liberating as it sounds. The space outside the box is infinite, and when faced with endless possibilities, the human mind feels adrift and tends to fall back into the familiarity of “the box.”

A far more powerful approach to spurring creativity is to develop a set of new boxes that frees the mind to think the unthinkable. And it is crucial to create new boxes proactively, before competitors force leaders into a new box by outmaneuvering them. As part of this research, Luc has coauthored the book Thinking in New Boxes, a road map for sustainable creativity that he created with BCG's Alan Iny.

The concept of thinking in new boxes is useful for corporations that plan to form a strategic vision, undergo scenario planning, develop new product ideas, and more. It is a practical approach to creativity for today’s business world.

With BCG since 2001, Luc leads strategic seminars with boards, executive committees, and the managements of various companies and organizations. He has led projects to help companies develop new scenario strategies and strategic visions. He is also the author or coauthor of 12 books and a regular columnist for various newspapers. Among his recent books is The Forgotten Half of Change: Achieving Greater Creativity Through Changes in Perception (Kaplan, May 2005). This book is available in Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, French, and English.

Before joining BCG, Luc served as chairman of the National Geographic Institute from 1997 to 1998. He also held positions as a general manager at the Brussels Stock Exchange from 1990 to 1991 and as a computer scientist and information services manager at the Générale de Banque until 1989.

Luc graduated from the Catholic University of Louvain in 1971 with a degree in civil engineering in applied math. He received his PhD in philosophy from the Catholic University of Louvain in 2003.

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