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Overnight, it seemed that creativity gurus everywhere were teaching managers how to think outside the box.Management consultants in the 1970s and 1980s even used this puzzle when making sales pitches to prospective clients.The correct solution, however, requires you to draw lines that extend beyond the area defined by the dots.

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

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