But you will find numerous situations where a creative breakthrough is staring you in the face. The first group was given the same instructions as the participants in Guilfords experiment. It was an appealing and apparently convincing message. Would you like to guess the percentage of the participants in the second group who solved the puzzle correctly? The correct solution, however, requires you to draw lines that extend beyond the area defined by the dots. Of course, in real life you wont find boxes. Or so their consultants would have them believe.
Because the solution is, in hindsight, deceptively simple, clients tended to admit they should have thought of it themselves. Indeed, the concept enjoyed such strong popularity and intuitive appeal that no one bothered to check the facts. Consultants in the 1970s and 1980s even used this puzzle when making sales pitches to prospective clients. Speakers, trainers, training program developers, organizational consultants, and university professors all had much to say about the vast benefits of outside-the-box thinking. That is, direct and explicit instructions to think outside the box did not help.