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Management consultants in the 1970s and 1980s even used this puzzle when making sales pitches to prospective clients.
Because the solution is, in hindsight, deceptively simple, clients tended to admit they should have thought of it themselves.
Guilford was one of the first academic researchers who dared to conduct a study of creativity.
Overnight, it seemed that creativity gurus everywhere were teaching managers how to think outside the box.Solving this problem requires people to literally think outside the box.Yet participants’ performance was not improved even when they were given specific instructions to do so.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.
At the first stages, all the participants in Guilford’s original study censored their own thinking by limiting the possible solutions to those within the imaginary square (even those who eventually solved the puzzle).