What's a word for someone who pushes boundaries and things forward that is positive in connotation?
closed as off-topic by tchrist♦, Mitch, choster, Nathaniel is protesting, michael_timofeev Nov 26 '15 at 7:43
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push the envelope: exceed the limits of what is normally done, be innovative, as in They are pushing the envelope in using only new fabrics for winter clothing.
By extension, I think you can use envelope pusher.
In addition, you can try:
pioneer: one who opens up new areas of thought, research, or development
pathfinder: someone who discovers and tries new ways of doing things
Someone who keeps introducing new ideas and things
Someone who sets everything in motion by introducing new ideas
Someone who takes it upon himself to push things forward when no one else will
And, to a lesser extent:
A mild type of rebel
Wiktionary: Transcender defines a person who transcends.
Transcend means to pass beyond limits.
I think "pushing the envelope" and "thinking outside the square [or box]" are now rather clichéd management-speak. I would usually prefer innovator, pioneer, forward thinker, ground-breaker, or perhaps avant garde, depending on the context
[Cambridge dictionaries] a person who thinks and acts in an independent way, often behaving differently from the expected or usual way:
Besides the realm of innovation and ground-breaking aforementioned, those who have the skills and capabilities to push the boundaries of knowledge to an upper level are those few regarded as visionaries leaders. As thus, well known examples of the kind are Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein.