Energizer: Heuristics

Maybe you've seen the 9-dot/4-line version of this puzzle, but have you seen the 16-dot/6-line version?

From Francis D.K. Ching's "Drawing: A Creative Process" 

From Francis D.K. Ching's "Drawing: A Creative Process" 

This visual energizer highights heuristics: the different approaches different people take to problem solving.

Share this challenge with a group and turn them loose to solve it. Ask them to call out "Done!" once it's solved. Give no other instructions than to solve the challenge. Then watch what happens.  

Some individuals will go head down and try to solve it on their own. Some will try to work with others. Some will solve it quickly. After 10-20% of the participants have solved it, stop the exercise and ask a few people to share their solutions with the group. Compare results. Are they the same or different?

Then ask participants to share their approaches to solving the problem. HOW did they go about finding the solution? Did they try it on their own, or collaborate with others? Did they first think about in their heads, or immediately put pen to paper?  Had they seen the 9-dot/4-line version somewhere and try to apply that solution? Did they wait until someone else figured it out, then copied? Did they get frustrated and give up? Did they Google it? 

What matters here is not the solution so much as the different approaches that participants took to solving the problem. Heuristics are the unique approaches individuals take to problem solving. APPLYING those heuristics will produce solutions that are more accurate, creative, and widely accepted. This touches directly on the value of diverse and inclusive teams.

I first saw Joe Gerstandt use the 9-dot/4-line version of this puzzle applied to heuristics. What I like about this 16-dot/6-line version is that fewer people have seen it before, so they really have to work to solve it.  Also, THIS version has several solutions, whereas the 9-dot/4-line version only has one. There's also a lesson to be drawn from gathering MANY solutions rather than stopping with the first "RIGHT" solution.

PS: Here's two solutions. There are several. It took several sticky notes to get to this point. 

PS: Here's two solutions. There are several. It took several sticky notes to get to this point.