Curefit has become one of the leading health and wellness centers in the country. Come to think of it, gyms were already in existence before Curefit, so why did it gain such massive popularity? The enterprise enhanced the gymming experience by adding elements that people wouldn’t normally think of. From mental health to nutritious diets, they’ve got it all covered.

Curefit is an ideal example of how you tackle functional fixedness. In other words, you take a simple idea and turn it into something that’s extraordinary. Several innovative startups become successful because they thrive on out-of-the-box ideas. Let’s explore the concept in detail and see how you can be extraordinary.

  1. Debunking Functional Fixedness Psychology

  2. The Challenges Of Functional Fixedness At Work

  3. Break Out Of The Box!

Debunking Functional Fixedness Psychology

Functional fixedness is a type of cognitive or psychological bias that impacts your ability to be creative. It’s the tendency to view objects only in a particular way. Someone with functional fixedness is unable to realize that something can be used on multiple occasions and it can perform other functions as well. It limits you from thinking outside the box and prevents you from brainstorming innovative solutions to problems.

Here is an example elaborating on the definition of functional fixedness psychology:

Akash throws the plastic food containers immediately after finishing his take-out meals. Later, he goes to the supermarket to purchase containers for storing things in the kitchen. Akash views these containers only as items that will store the meal for a certain period of time. If he wasn’t limited by functional fixedness, he would wash and keep the containers to store other items.

The Challenges Of Functional Fixedness At Work

Functional fixedness sheds light on the difficulty we experience in our attempt to be creative. Stifled creativity further impacts problem-solving abilities. In the workplace, individuals need to solve problems and generate strategies that drive business goals and lead to successful outcomes. Employers highly value problem-solving and innovative thinking as they are key leadership skills.

Here is an example of functional fixedness in the workplace; let’s see how it blinds individuals to valuable solutions.


Sharanya is in charge of this year’s marketing campaign. There are several posters that need to be designed as a part of the campaign. Sriram—marketing consultant and one of the team members— had worked as a freelance graphic designer in the past, who volunteered to help out. But Sharanya reached out to a design agency because she wanted everything to be perfect.

It’s because of functional fixedness psychology, Sharanya’s inability to look at Sriram beyond his current professional capacity. Sriram could have saved the additional costs that came from outsourcing designers. Simply put, Sharanya makes a costly business decision.

Break Out Of The Box!

Unlike its name, functional fixedness isn’t actually ‘fixed’. Individuals who are self-aware can consciously work towards challenging and overcoming the bias. By consciously putting an effort into thinking innovatively, anyone can improve their problem-solving abilities. Here are some ways to minimize functional fixedness bias and step out of the box.

  1. Acknowledge And Accept

The first step to overcoming functional fixedness is being aware of it. The more you acknowledge and accept it, the easier it is to consider a variety of alternative perspectives. When you eliminate the excesses i.e., details of the problem, you think more clearly about the solution.

  1. Draw Inspiration

Studies show that when you look beyond your area of expertise, you’re more likely to generate creative solutions. In other words, you should draw inspiration from unexpected places. For example, a sound engineer can study the history of music and draw inspiration to make changes in his compositions.

  1. Embrace Flexibility

Overcoming functional fixedness means keeping an open mind and embracing flexibility. A great way to break from routine is to challenge yourself with something new every now and then. In the workplace—for example—pay attention to what others have to say during brainstorming sessions. Encourage diverse perspectives and expose yourself to new experiences.

Despite its flaws, functional fixedness isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, it’s a mental shortcut that helps us make decisions quickly. For instance, if someone is hurt, your immediate reaction would be either getting the first-aid box or calling the doctor.


If you want to effectively navigate functional fixedness, you can arm yourself with critical information. Harappa Education’s Creating Solutions course will teach you how to use logic to analyze data and understand a problem from multiple perspectives. You will pay attention to detail and learn to get to the root of problems with the help of the Multiple Whys framework. Additionally, the AQR (Available, Quality & Research) Framework will help you evaluate data more carefully. Stand out as a problem-solver with Harappa’s courses!

Explore topics such as The Importance of Root Cause Analysis5 Whys Analysis & How to Analyze Problem from Harappa Diaries and create solutions for any problem that may come your way.