Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ad majors tower over the Marshmallow Challenge

The winners and world champions.

How do you build the tallest freestanding structure you can using 20 sticks of spaghetti, a yard of tape and string, and a marshmallow?

Through collaboration and teamwork. Or not.

The Marshmallow Challenge is a design and collaboration exercise that encourages teams to experience simple - or is that profound? - lessons in innovation and creativity by building the aforementioned structure in 18 minutes.

The marshmallow needs to be on top. Wah, wah, wah!

As the man in the Ted video (below) says, part of the fun is that business students and grads tend to perform the worst at the challenge, and kindergarten students produce the tallest and most-interesting structures.

The ad majors made a great go at it, and the winners (pictured at the top of this post) made a structure of 26 inches, well above the height of the average structure. Their prize? Oh yeah: there wasn't one.

Next semester: we revisit the challenge, and the prize will be...more wealth than you can imagine! 


  1. Ohh fun! Let's do that in first year Advertising!

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  3. I helped in a similar group task at an industry seminar years ago. We had to fashion a protective structure around a raw egg using only Scotch tape and milk straws. It was then dropped to its likely demise whilst standing on a chair.

    What we built actually kept the egg intact, but it wasn't pretty. Great team and thought exercise.

    This marshmallow exercise looks like more fun. Plus, there's no risk of salmonella if the experiment goes horribly wrong and the egg explodes all over the carpet.


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