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John Adair's 100 Greatest Ideas for Smart Decision Making by John Adair

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Idea 67: The nine dots and the six matches

Brainstorming challenges one kind of unconscious assumption, namely that hammers are for knocking in nails or that scissors are for cutting. But there are other forms of unconscious assumption that may inhibit your thinking.

Take the ‘Nine dots’ and ‘Six matchsticks’ problems in Idea 67. The reason so many people cannot do the first one is that they put an unconscious or invisible framework around the dots, and try to solve the problem within it. That is impossible. But if you break out of that self-imposed limitation, the solution to the problem is easily reached.

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Incidentally, I first published the ...

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