Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Get out of your box!


I will give you a little puzzle at the onset. The famous 9 dot puzzle! Can you link all the nine dots using four straight lines or less, without lifting the pen or pencil?


A helpful hint – THINK OUT OF THE BOX! Before we get to the solution, let us talk a bit about this.


A few of my business colleagues would be quite familiar with this story from Colgate. It is one of my favourites when I speak to sales and marketing teams about the importance of lateral thinking. Once upon a time, Colgate being the proverbial corporate, was looking at ways to improve its revenue. The research showed that their market share was increasing day by day and yet their sales were not increasing. It was driving the heads mad. (Sounds only too familiar, doesn’t it?) The solution came from the driver of the CEO who usually overheard all the conversations and made an interesting observation to his employer. He swore by the Colgate brand and used it everyday. But he did not buy it quite so much because of one reason. And the reason was that it lasted very long. You see the tube had a small opening and thus lasted for absolute ages. This was easily fixed. Colgate increased the size of the toothpaste tube’s opening and voila! The sales started growing.

Let us look at another example. I shall take you back to India this time again. Ever happened to go around rural India and witnessed “jugaad”. If there was ever a best bet on innovation, this would be one. It is a diesel engine fitted on a cart to make it into a low cost and workable motor vehicle. In essence, it’s a tribute to native genius and lateral thinking.
And here is the solution to the puzzle:

We all have boxes – visible, invisible, cultural, religious, social, intellectual, regional, etc. and it takes great time and effort to think out of these boxes. Liberate your thought, think beyond the boundaries and a lot of impossible will become possible.Get out of your box, you deserve it!

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