chapter  7
6 Pages

- Seeing the Outlines of the Box: Discovering the Boundaries of a System

In Section I we made the rst step in the process of thinking outside the box when we started considering certain familiar devices as functional elements of a larger system. This simple step allowed us to broaden our vision of the situation and engage in divergent thinking.* For example, by looking beyond Edison’s light bulb, we discovered his other important inventions that were critical to the success of the device itself and the electricity distribution system as a whole. More formally, whether working alone or in a group, we would like to answer the following questions:

• Assuming the entity under consideration is an element of a larger system, what functional role can it play within the system? Can it play more than one role at different times?