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There seemed to be no end to the insights that could be offered under the banner of thinking outside the box.Speakers, trainers, training program developers, organizational consultants, and university professors all had much to say about the vast benefits of outside-the-box thinking.

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Most people assume that 60 percent to 90 percent of the group given the clue would solve the puzzle easily. What’s more, in statistical terms, this 5 percent improvement over the subjects of Guilford’s original study is insignificant.

In other words, the difference could easily be due to what statisticians call sampling error.

Let’s look a little more closely at these surprising results.

Solving this problem requires people to literally think outside the box.

Although studying creativity is considered a legitimate scientific discipline nowadays, it is still a very young one. One of Guilford’s most famous studies was the nine-dot puzzle.

Guilford was one of the first academic researchers who dared to conduct a study of creativity.

Yet participants’ performance was not improved even when they were given specific instructions to do so.

That is, direct and explicit instructions to think outside the box did not help.

The correct solution, however, requires you to draw lines that extend beyond the area defined by the dots.

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