This design challenge was made famous by Peter Skillman at a conference in 2007, and even has a Ted Talk discussing its benefits.
This activity works brilliantly in conjunction with Belbin’s team roles, to illustrate the different roles in action.
To start, divide people into groups of 3 to 6, and give them the supplies listed above. Then give them 18 minutes to build the tallest, free-standing tower.
Once done, ask the groups some questions to draw out how they worked together to complete the activity:
- Was there much planning done, and what did that look like?
- Who took the lead?
- Who contributed ideas?
- Did anyone have any ideas they wished they’d contributed but didn’t? Why is that?
- Was communication effective?
- What parallels can we draw to our workplace interactions?
Don’t forget to take pictures of the resulting towers—you’ll be inspired by the creativity!