Recently I was received mail and found there the blue sky thinking phrase as an agenda for the next company team meeting.

Quick googling does not bring any appropriate results.

What does the blue sky thinking mean?

  • 6
    -1 because you haven't provided enough information about the context the phrase was used in. Even if it was used in its expected context, as Hackworth pointed out, the answer from Wiktionary is the top answer in Google. If the wiktionary answer isn't the right one, give us more information about how the phrase was used in your email. – Andy F Nov 23 '11 at 10:31

Blue sky thinking is business jargon for a sort of brainstorming or analysis that is uninhibited by the cruft and complexity of tedious and confusing reality. It is supposed to be optimistic, non-judgmental and intended to generate ideas that while not necessarily realistic might help define ideal goals or higher standards.

It's a ghastly cliche whose meaning is opaque.

  • I suppose that it is. – hazzik Nov 23 '11 at 13:56
  • Know this is an old Q, but still want to note: this is almost certainly the correct answer. Business jargon is its own 'ghastly beast,' and I find it changing all the time. It was likely extremely vaguely and opaquely used in OP's email -- I can imagine what OP wrote as the only element in a bullet list. – CompEcon Sep 29 '14 at 19:47

This is the google top link for "blue sky thinking", with or without quotes.

  1. thinking that is not grounded or in touch in the realities of the present.

What's not appropriate about this result?

  • 1
    @hazzik: then I find it difficult to see how we can help you. – Matt E. Эллен Nov 23 '11 at 11:02
  • 1
    @Hazzik, perhaps you could redact certain phrases? I can't imagine any other context in which blue sky thinking might be used where it wouldn't mean what the wiktionary link says it does. I suspect whoever used it is using it incorrectly, but without context we can't tell you what they actually mean! – Andy F Nov 23 '11 at 11:03

I was an adman at a New York-based ad agency, called McCann Erickson, where I worked more than 30 years, until 1995.

We used to use the word, "blue sky thinking" very often at that time, in the meaning of "free and original way of thinking" without ceiling - restraint by anybody else at an occasion such as "brain-storming" working sessions. We used it in a productive and pro-active sense as against whimsical, irresponsible idea generation. It could have been an advertising jargon, or a kind of sociolect, and I'm not sure whether it still applies. But we used this word in this sense for certain.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.