The Marshmellow Challenge - 23/11/2010

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Last week I participated in a workshop about Business Model Innovation by Alex Osterwalder. During this workshop I was introduced to the Marshmellow Challenge by Tom Wujec. Divided into teams of four people, each team had to build something within 18 minutes, using 20 dry spaghetti sticks, sticky tape, string and one marshmellow. A nice video of this activity is available on TED: http://www.ted.com/talks/tom_wujec_build_a_tower.html. In addition to the fact that this is an excellent way to work together, it is also a very practicable way to find out that you need to make a prototype of your ideas as early as possible and that it is not always useful to fully work out your plans before starting to implement them.

When working out your plans, you need to think of tests in as early a stage as possible to verify the assumptions that you make. Whether it is a technical design, a business plan or a form of cooperation that you are in the process of developing. The Marshmellow Challenge is a nice work form to draw attention to the importance of this.

Bert van Helvoirt