The candle problem - Deepstash
The candle problem

The candle problem

Suppose you get a candle, some thumbtacks and some matches. Your job is to attach the candle to the wall so the wax doesn't drip onto the table. How would you do it?

  • Some people try to thumbtack the candle to the wall, which doesn't work.
  • Some will try to light a match, melt the side of the candle and try to stick it to the wall, which doesn't work.
  • However, most people will figure out the solution after five or ten minutes.

The key is to overcome what's called functional fixedness.

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Many organisations are trying to improve performance using outdated assumptions. If we want high performance, the solution is not rearranging the wrong strategy. We need a new approach.

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