Thinking Outside the Box

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By Stephen Waguespack

In the 1970’s, management consultants started using a new metaphor to convince companies they needed to think about their problems and potential solutions in a whole new way. To illustrate their point, they began to use what is called the “nine dot puzzle.”

The puzzle consisted of nine dots, equally arranged in three rows to make a box. The challenge was to connect all the dots using only four lines without letting your pencil leave the paper. The puzzle was difficult at first because most people felt compelled to stay within the box, but it became easy to solve the puzzle once they viewed the challenge differently and drew the lines to go beyond the boundary of the square. Hence, the analogy of “thinking outside the box” was born.

 

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