Fixedness - Karl Dunker

In a classic experiment demonstrating functional fixedness (1945), Karl Dunker gave participants a candle, a box of nails and several other objects, asking them to attach the candle to the wall so that it didn’t drip onto the table. below.

Dunker Candle 1 Dunker found that most participants tried to nail the candle directly to the wall or glue it to the wall by melting the wax. Very few of them thought of using the inside of the nail box as a candle-holder and nailing this to the wall. Dunker candle 2
In Dunker’s terms the
participants were
“fixated” on the box’s
normal function of holding nails and could not reconceptualise it in a manner that allowed them to solve the problem.

In the same way we get 'fixated' with the 'normal' function of things, we get 'fixated' with the 'normal' way our business works, the 'normal' way our customers react, and we end up unable to see and think of ideas outside our 'normal' world. We suffer from fixedness. 

 And that is why KN3W IDEAS uses systematic thinking, to stop our minds automatically accessing 'normal' thinking.



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