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Today many people are familiar with this puzzle and its solution.
The first group was given the same instructions as the participants in Guilford’s experiment.
That is, direct and explicit instructions to think outside the box did not help.
That this advice is useless when actually trying to solve a problem involving a real box should effectively have killed off the much widely disseminated—and therefore, much more dangerous—metaphor that out-of-the-box thinking spurs creativity.
The idea went viral (via 1970s-era media and word of mouth, of course).
Overnight, it seemed that creativity gurus everywhere were teaching managers how to think outside the box.At the first stages, all the participants in Guilford’s original study censored their own thinking by limiting the possible solutions to those within the imaginary square (even those who eventually solved the puzzle).