Out of the box thinking means doing things differently, not caring what others think, and marching to the beat of your own drum.

How can one "think outside the box?" This should be done independently, but how? Here's an example: Cut a cake into eight slices but you have to make no more than three cuts. Most people will have trouble coming up with a way to cut the cake. But to solve this, you have to change the way you look at the cake and how to cut it. One perfect solution is to cut the cake into two equal sizes and put the other half on top of the other. Cut it again in half then stack the other half pieces on top of one another and cut them again. There you go, here are more examples of “Out of the box thinking” ….

## 1- how to determine the height of a skyscraper

The following concerns a question in a physics degree exam at the

University of Copenhagen:

"Describe how to determine the height of a skyscraper with a barometer."

One student replied:

"You tie a long piece of string to the neck of the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the skyscraper to the ground. The length of the string plus the length of the barometer will equal the height of the building."

This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that the student was failed immediately. The student appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably correct, and the university appointed an independent arbiter to decide the case.

The arbiter judged that the answer was indeed correct, but did not display any noticeable knowledge of physics. To resolve the problem it was decided to call the student in and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer that showed at least a minimal familiarity with the basic principles of physics.

For five minutes the student sat in silence, forehead creased in thought. The arbiter reminded him that time was running out, to which the student replied that he had several extremely relevant answers, but couldn't make up his mind which to use. On being advised to hurry up the student replied as follows:

"Firstly, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then be worked out from the formula H = 0.5g x t squared. But bad luck on the barometer."

"Or if the sun is shining you could measure the height of the barometer, then set it on end and measure the length of its shadow. Then you measure the length of the skyscraper's shadow, and thereafter it is a simple matter of proportional arithmetic to work out the height of the skyscraper."

"But if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the skyscraper. The height is worked

out by the difference in the gravitational restoring force T =2 pi sqr root (l /g)."

"Or if the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up."

"If you merely wanted to be boring and orthodox about it, of course, you could use the barometer to measure the air pressure on the roof of the skyscraper and on the ground, and convert the difference in millibars into feet to give the height of the building."

"But since we are constantly being exhorted to exercise independence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly the best way would be to knock on the janitor's door and say to him 'If you would like a nice new barometer, I will give you this one if you tell me the height of this skyscraper'."

The student was Niels Bohr, the only Dane to win the Nobel Prize for physics.

## 2- Father, sons, and camels

A father left 17 Camels as an Asset for his Three Sons.

When the Father passed away, his sons opened up the will.

The Will of the Father stated that the Eldest son should get Half of 17 Camels,

The Middle Son should be given 1/3rd of 17 Camels,

Youngest Son should be given 1/9th of the 17 Camels,

As it is not possible to divide 17 into half or 17 by 3 or 17 by 9, the sons started to fight with each other.

So, they decided to go to a wise man.

The wise man listened patiently about the Will. The wise man, after giving this thought, brought one camel of his own & added the same to 17. That increased the total to 18 camels.

Now, he started reading the deceased father’s will.

Half of 18 = 9.

So he gave 9 camels

to the eldest son.

1/3rd of 18 = 6.

So he gave 6 camels

to the middle son.

1/9th of 18 = 2.

So he gave 2 camels

to the youngest son.

Now add this up:

9 + 6 + 2 = 17 &

This leaves 1 camel,

which the wise man took back

…problem solved

## 3- ticket-less travelers insurance

In that city, there is a group that runs an 'insurance' service for ticket-less travel on local trains. This is a real beauty. Considering that there are millions of passengers being transported every day, the statistical chances of one being caught is very slim. This is how this works : you pay a very small fee to the gang each month, this is about 1/10th the going rate for a monthly railway pass. You never buy a ticket but keep travelling blithely in the trains. If you get caught, don't argue. Pay the fine, come to your 'agent', hand over the receipt and get reimbursed. Everyone wins, except the Railways company of course.

## 4- The moneylender and the beautiful

Many hundreds of years ago in a small Italian town, a merchant had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to the moneylender. The moneylender, who was old and ugly, fancied the merchant’s beautiful daughter so he proposed a bargain. He said he would forgo the merchant’s debt if he could marry the daughter. Both the merchant and his daughter were horrified by the proposal.

The moneylender told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty bag. The girl would then have to pick one pebble from the bag. If she picked the black pebble, she would become the moneylender’s wife and her father’s debt would be forgiven. If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her father’s debt would still be forgiven. But if she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.

They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the merchant’s garden. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick her pebble from the bag.

What would you have done if you were the girl? If you had to advise her, what would you have told her? Careful analysis would produce three possibilities:

1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble.

2. The girl should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the moneylender as a cheat.

3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from his debt and imprisonment.

## 6- The 9 Dots Puzzle

The 9 dots puzzle is a classic problem that has been used to encourage people to think outside the box. The puzzle consists of three rows of three dots, and the goal is to connect all nine dots using only four straight lines without lifting the pencil from the paper or retracing any lines.

Most people's first instinct is to stay within the boundaries of the square shape, but the solution requires going beyond the boundaries of the box, that’s where does the phrase "think outside the box" come from.

The 9 dots puzzle is a great example of how thinking outside the box can lead to creative solutions. By challenging yourself to look beyond the obvious, you can develop new ways of thinking that can help you solve problems more effectively.

## 7- Other Nine Dots

There is another puzzle with the same nine-dots setup.

What is the smallest number of squares needed to make sure that each dot is in its own region?

Usually people who try to solve this puzzle come up with the following solution with four squares.

As with the previous puzzle they imagine the dots are on a grid and try to build squares that have sides parallel to the grid lines. What is the outside-the-box idea? The sides of squares do not need to be parallel to the grid. This way we can find a solution with three squares.

## 8- The Ancient Outside-the-Box Puzzle

The following problem can be found in eighth-century writings.

A man has to take a wolf, a goat, and some cabbage across a river. His rowboat has enough room for the man plus either the wolf or the goat or the cabbage. If he takes the cabbage with him, the wolf will eat the goat. If he takes the wolf, the goat will eat the cabbage. Only when the man is present are the goat and the cabbage safe from their enemies. All the same, the man carries wolf, goat, and cabbage across the river. How?

The reason the puzzle has survived for so many years is that the solution is based on an outside-the-box idea.

**Solution**Trip 1: Move the goat to the other side and back.

Trip 2: Move the wolf and bring the goat back.

Trip 3: Move the cabbage and back.

Trip 4: Move the goat.

## 9- Move a Digit

In the equation 30 - 33 = 3 move one digit to make it correct.

The puzzle seems impossible.

But the outside-the-box idea is to move a digit up to the exponent: : 30 – 3^{ 3} = 3.

## 10- Cigarette Butts

A certain hobo who is skilled at making cigarettes can turn any 4 cigarette butts into a single cigarette. Today, this hobo has found 24 cigarette butts on the street. Assuming he smokes every cigarette he can, how many cigarettes will he smoke today?

On the surface, he can smoke 24/4 = 6 cigarettes. What is the outside-the-box idea? He can reuse his own butts. After smoking 6 cigarettes, he will have 6 butts left. He can make one more cigarette. The answer is 7.

Or is it? What I love about this puzzle is that it has two layers. After smoking 7 cigarettes the hobo will have 3 butts left. There is another outside-the-box idea here. He can borrow a butt from a friend, smoke a cigarette and return the butt. At the end he can smoke 8 cigarettes.