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Howard Eisenberg explains...Paradigm Perceptual BiasWe tend to automatically process new situations in terms of the old and familiar. Thistendency restricts our awareness of other possibilities. Try the following exercise:Convert the figure I X into the number 6. IX • Only use the existing figure I X (i.e. you cannot use only a portion of it, nor alter it in any way.) • Only add one single line to the existing figure I X. • The solution must contain the figure I X.
Howard Eisenberg explains...Subconscious Presumptions...If you are having difficulty discovering the solution,reflect on what you are presuming about the IXparameters of this situation.By becoming more aware of your subconsciouspresumptions, you can directly challenge them andgo beyond their constraints.If you think you have a solution, then proceed tothe next screen...
Howard Eisenberg explains...One Solution...One correct solution to this problem is “SIX”. SIXNotice how easy it is to see and understand thesolution in retrospect?What prevented you from seeing this solution byyourself?Perhaps you presumed the I X signified romannumerals and consequently you confined yourthinking to this system, instead of seeing it moreneutrally as just a single line and two crossedlines.Or...
Howard Eisenberg explains...Assumptions...Perhaps you presumed that since the figure I Xconsisted of only straight lines, that the additional IXline also had to be a straight one.Now, given the same situation and rules, develop adifferent solution to this problem.Again, if you are experiencing difficulty indiscovering the second solution, reflect on whatyou are presuming that constricts your thinking ofother alternatives...Proceed to the next screen when you think youhave a second solution...
Howard Eisenberg explains...A Second Solution...Surprised?What prevented you from seeing this solutionby yourself? IX6Is there a similarity in your presumedconstraints with the first solution?Once again, you had to free yourself frompresuming an answer confined to the romannumeral system and using a straight line.Additionally, you had to free yourself from thepresumed constraint of a simple graphicalrepresentation of the number itself, so that youcould entertain the possibility of acomputational solution.
Howard Eisenberg explains...Problem-Solving Principles...What principles have you learned about general problem-solving from thisexercise?Can you think of some real world problems where such presumptions restrictawareness to better solutions?For example, at the beginning of the 20th century, physicists ruled out thepossibility of airplanes because the concept contradicted the Law of Gravity.Similarly, the Swiss watchmaking industry rejected their own invention ofdigital watch technology, because they already dominated the world marketwith their older mechanical technology and consequently lost most of theirprevious dominating market share.And, if you came up with yet another solution to the I X problem, I’d beinterested to hear from you! Please email me... Howard Eisenberghoward@syntrek.com