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Challenging the myth of thinking outside the box

From: Business Innovation Fundamentals

Video: Challenging the myth of thinking outside the box

Take a look at this puzzle. It's called the Nine-Dot Puzzle. It's a puzzle because you have to take your pencil and draw four straight lines and connect all nine dots. It's tricky, and if you would like to try it, you can pause the video right here before I show the solution. Now you may have seen this puzzle before, and if you have, you know that there is a trick to solving it. Let me show you. First, you draw your line here, then on your second line, instead of stopping on the last dot, you have to extend your line out to here.

Challenging the myth of thinking outside the box

Take a look at this puzzle. It's called the Nine-Dot Puzzle. It's a puzzle because you have to take your pencil and draw four straight lines and connect all nine dots. It's tricky, and if you would like to try it, you can pause the video right here before I show the solution. Now you may have seen this puzzle before, and if you have, you know that there is a trick to solving it. Let me show you. First, you draw your line here, then on your second line, instead of stopping on the last dot, you have to extend your line out to here.

You do the same on your third line, extending outside the boundaries to here, and then you complete the puzzle like this. Pretty clever. This famous puzzle was used by a researcher in the 1970s, who found that on average, only 20% of participants could solve it. And so he concluded that it was obvious, to be more creative, we have to think outside the box. I am sure you've heard that phrase many times.

But guess what? Soon after that research, two other researchers repeated the study but told participants they had to draw the lines outside the box created by the nine dots. In other words, they were given the solution. You would think most everyone could solve it, yet only about 20% could solve it. There was no improvement. Thinking outside the box is a myth. Thinking outside the box sends your mind on a wild cognitive goose chase, searching for an idea that you may never find.

You open your mind to a vast wide open space that could overwhelm you. Yet the most popular creativity methods are based on this idea of thinking in an unconstrained way. The most famous of these is brainstorming, a technique that was created in the late 1940s. If you're like most people, you've participated in many brainstorming sessions. But did you know that over 50 years of scientific study into brainstorming shows conclusively it doesn't work? Researchers compared a group of people brainstorming to the same number of people ideating on their own working on the same task.

When they combined the ideas of the individuals and compared them to the ideas from the brainstorming group, the individuals produced 80% more ideas and better ideas than the brainstorming group. Brainstorming has many limitations, and it can actually hold back your creative potential. So why do people still use brainstorming if it doesn't work? For my experience, people either don't know about the research, or they don't have a better technique to replace it. My advice is to avoid using brainstorming as a way to generate ideas.

Use it instead as a team-building tool or perhaps as a way to get a quick snapshot of what people are thinking about. The best innovators are always looking for the best tools. Find those techniques that give you the best result and then master them.

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This video is part of

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Business Innovation Fundamentals

58 video lessons · 2228 viewers

Drew Boyd
Author

 
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  1. 1m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 22s
    2. Using the exercise files
      19s
  2. 21m 37s
    1. What is innovation? Introducing Systematic Inventive Thinking
      3m 21s
    2. The principle of function follows form
      4m 8s
    3. The closed-world principle
      4m 16s
    4. Characteristics of innovative products and services
      3m 51s
    5. Challenging the myth of thinking outside the box
      3m 11s
    6. Challenging the myth of serendipity
      2m 50s
  3. 11m 55s
    1. Functional fixedeness
      2m 26s
    2. The subtraction technique
      2m 59s
    3. Subtraction in action
      4m 8s
    4. Addressing common challenges
      2m 22s
  4. 10m 35s
    1. Structural fixedness
      2m 32s
    2. The division technique
      2m 43s
    3. Division in action
      3m 3s
    4. Addressing common challenges
      2m 17s
  5. 16m 25s
    1. The multiplication technique
      4m 24s
    2. Multiplication in action
      4m 39s
    3. Zooming in and zooming out
      4m 51s
    4. Addressing common challenges
      2m 31s
  6. 15m 45s
    1. The task-unification technique
      4m 19s
    2. Task unification in action
      4m 14s
    3. Using task unification for business issues
      4m 27s
    4. Addressing common challenges
      2m 45s
  7. 17m 49s
    1. The attribute dependency technique
      3m 32s
    2. Creating an attribute dependency matrix
      3m 37s
    3. Types of dependencies
      4m 12s
    4. Attribute dependency in action
      4m 31s
    5. Addressing common challenges
      1m 57s
  8. 27m 7s
    1. Running ideation workshops
      4m 13s
    2. Which technique to use
      3m 26s
    3. Creating new services and processes
      3m 17s
    4. Creating digital innovations
      5m 12s
    5. Involving customers
      5m 49s
    6. Evaluating ideas
      5m 10s
  9. 14m 48s
    1. Mastering innovative thinking
      3m 42s
    2. Building a pilot program
      3m 56s
    3. Addressing organizational challenges with innovation
      4m 3s
    4. Next steps
      3m 7s
  10. 52m 41s
    1. About Drew
      2m 9s
    2. What is innovation?
      51s
    3. What got Drew started in innovation?
      2m 15s
    4. On innovation as a skill
      1m 53s
    5. On innovation as part of your business
      1m 58s
    6. On resistance to innovation
      3m 31s
    7. On innovation's tainted image
      2m 34s
    8. Where do you apply innovation strategies?
      2m 31s
    9. Who should lead an innovation effort?
      3m 6s
    10. On favorite innovation experiences
      3m 51s
    11. On innovation vs. strategy
      3m 36s
    12. On working with innovation consultants
      3m 20s
    13. On trends in innovation
      3m 26s
    14. On innovation as competition
      2m 32s
    15. On innovative companies
      2m 43s
    16. On generating vs. executing ideas
      3m 2s
    17. Can you overdo innovation?
      2m 1s
    18. How do you start innovating?
      3m 44s
    19. On the most innovative products
      3m 38s

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