Or how overcoming functional fixedness can help solve a candle problem or two…In the corporate team-building exercise known as 100 Uses For A Brick, employees are presented with an ordinary brick, then asked to come up with 100 ways to restrain their rage at being forced to participate in moronic team-building exercises when they could be getting on with work. Or something like that; I may be misremembering. Anyway, the point is to encourage fresh thinking by looking beyond a brick's conventional uses, thereby overcoming one of the biggest barriers to creativity: "functional fixedness", the way our brains become locked into defining an object by the purpose to which it's usually put. The most famous experimental demonstration of this involved handing people a candle and a box of drawing pins, with instructions to fix the candle to the wall. Most tried pinning the candle, or melting wax. Few thought of pinning...
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