The Original (and New) Think Outside the Box Puzzles

Costa Michailidis -

The Original

The original Think Outside the Box puzzle was a puzzle popularized by management consultants in the 70's and 80's.

You can find it here » Wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking_outside_the_box

It was a way to demonstrate to their clients what it meant to think outside the box, quite literally.

The puzzle goes as follows...

Drawn nine dots on a sheet of paper in the arrangement you see below, and then with a pencil or other drawing utensil try to connect all nine dots with only four continuous straight lines.

Take a minute to try it yourself...

Nine dots arranged in a grid

Reveal the Solution

What does this teach us?

Notice how you must draw beyond the imaginary box that the dots form in order to explore options that include the solution above.

And that's the point. The box is imaginary!

Creativity is what helps us think beyond limits; limits that are often self-imposed. There are specific skills like assumption busting, assumption reversals, problem reframing, and more to help you learn to think outside the box.

The New

Now, it's been a while since the 80's, and a lot has changed. It's time this puzzle gets an upgrade too.

In today's world we're being asked to think even more creatively, to do more with even less than before, and to be efficient, elegant, and entertaining in new ways, and so goes with our puzzle.

This time, try to connect all nine dots with just ONE straight line.

Encouragement: We have seen over 11 distinct solutions from various participants over the years, and hundreds of repetitions and variants.

See other people's solutions, and share yours on our » LinkedIn Company Post


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Photo of Costa Michailidis
Cofounder at Innovation Bound & Working on Big Science Challenges at Knowinnovation