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Because the solution is, in hindsight, deceptively simple, clients tended to admit they should have thought of it themselves.

It was an appealing and apparently convincing message.

Indeed, the concept enjoyed such strong popularity and intuitive appeal that no one bothered to check the facts.

In other words, the “trick” was revealed in advance.

Would you like to guess the percentage of the participants in the second group who solved the puzzle correctly?

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.

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.

Although studying creativity is considered a legitimate scientific discipline nowadays, it is still a very young one. One of Guilford’s most famous studies was the nine-dot puzzle.

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