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There seemed to be no end to the insights that could be offered under the banner of thinking outside the box.
Speakers, trainers, training program developers, organizational consultants, and university professors all had much to say about the vast benefits of outside-the-box thinking.
The symmetry, the beautiful simplicity of the solution, and the fact that 80 percent of the participants were effectively blinded by the boundaries of the square led Guilford and the readers of his books to leap to the sweeping conclusion that creativity requires you to go outside the box.
The idea went viral (via 1970s-era media and word of mouth, of course).
Management consultants in the 1970s and 1980s even used this puzzle when making sales pitches to prospective clients.Even though they weren’t instructed to restrain themselves from considering such a solution, they were unable to “see” the white space beyond the square’s boundaries.