Website 99% has this great article explaining why success is so hard to reach: we already start with the failure in mind because we fail to think -- if you'll forgive the cliche' -- out of the box.
Take the story of the American scientists and the invention of the "space pen," for example. The scientists were given the task of designing and creating a pen to deal with the problem of ballpoint pens not being able to write in zero-gravity. They spent considerable time and money developing the idea, which resulted in using nitrogen under pressure, supplying the ink without the need for gravity.
The Russians just used a pencil. Instead of setting out to design a ballpoint pen that was gravity-free, they looked for ways of being able to write upside down.
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