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.
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.
In the 1970s, however, very few were even aware of its existence, even though it had been around for almost a century.
The second group was told that the solution required the lines to be drawn outside the imaginary box bordering the dot array.
He challenged research subjects to connect all nine dots using just four straight lines without lifting their pencils from the page.
Today many people are familiar with this puzzle and its solution.
For example, there have been some theories such as those of Schopenhauer (see his remarks about Genius) and Freud (see his remarks about Sublimation) that propose creativity is something more like a capacity provided by nature rather than one acquired or learned from the environment.
Rather than disproving the myth, in other words, the experiment might instead offer evidence that creativity is an ability that one is born with, or born lacking, hence why information from the environment didn't impact the results at all.
Yet participants’ performance was not improved even when they were given specific instructions to do so.