OTTAWA -- The Rubik’s Cube is a seemingly simple three-dimensional puzzle, but the near-endless amount of combinations has stumped the better part of the planet's population for nearly 50 years and its inventor says the secret to solving it is not as simple as it seems.

Twist, turn, spin and just like that, each of the six sides are one solid colour. It sounds simple, it looks easy, but organizing the 54 individual coloured squares is crazy hard.

“Yeah, I’ve tried it many times when I was a kid,” says Luc Draulet, as he tries to solve the cube. “I used to have a book with all the steps in it so when you reach the level when you have one colour in the middle, you took the book and you like had seven or eight steps to do and finish it.”

That’s one way to do it. Another way, a fan favourite with children, and Melanie Falardeau’s is to cheat.

“What I would do is I would just take all the colours off and just pretend I solved it,” laughs Falardeau. “That would be me, no patience.”

Patience is probably the most important piece of the puzzle and according to its creator, Professor Erno Rubik from Hungary, seeking help defeats the whole point.

“To solve for me means to understand the capability and to understand the task and to understand what kind of results you are looking for,” says Rubik. “To find the solution, that is the important thing. Timing is much less important. If we have problems in real life, the question is not how fast we find the solution, the question is what kind of solution we find and how satisfactory the solution is.”

Rubik’s Cubes have been spinning off shelves since 1974. It is one of the most successful toys in history with nearly half a billion units sold. Competitions to test people's solving skills and speed take place around the world but for Rubik, the cube’s purpose is to push minds and unlock one's potential and imagination.

“To solve the cube doesn’t really mean you are solving the object that is in your hand, it means you solve the cube that is in your head,” he says. “The interesting part of the cube is that every position needs a different kind of solution.”

And while there is only one solution, there are more than 43 quintillion possible colour combinations—a manageably unimaginable number—and Rubik points out that it’s those endless possibilities that will push innovation forward.

Rubik is a featured guest at the National Arts Centre on Nov. 9 for an event titles ‘RUBIK and Beyond - Think Outside the Cube!’ It is the first of several events intended to promote creativity and innovation, highlighting the importance of original thinking and celebrating those who dare to explore and to inspire and empower future generations.

"At the very core of innovation is passionate curiosity boosting a tireless search for understanding the world around us. The discovery of the cube was also rooted in that quest and I hope it continues to inspire and encourage many more generations of inquisitive minds, young and old," Rubik said.