The Marshmallow Challenge is a classic design challenge that forces you to think about about the assumptions in your problem - plus it's just plain fun. But by this point most of the Makerspace 8 students have already given it a try, and some of its observations aren't so striking the 2nd time around. So - we added an evil twist.
Makerspace 8 has 2 sections (A/B), and we are running a minor competition between the two, both to raise the bar and to provide an incentive not to leak any information about the design challenge surprises. We asked each section to work in mini-teams, but with the overall goal of maximizing the section's average, thus changing the dynamic. But the real shock came 10 minutes in, when we stopped the clock and told them to rotate groups clockwise so that you inherited some elses' partial project.
The first part of design thinking is empathy. The empathy exercise then becomes: do you start again from scratch following your own vision (and half the time gone) or do you continue on with the prior owner's partial design and vision? And what was that vision? Students quickly realized that communicating their vision to the new group was the best way to maximize the extremely limited building time.
Of course, in the real world you rarely get to start with a blank project. You are often parachuted into an existing project and have to work within someone else's grand plan, while still adding in your own ideas and influence. As well - leadership comes from the ability to give up 100% ownership of your project, and be okay with someone else continuing on the your general-but-not-quite-the-same direction towards the overall goal. It is hard to give up ownership! There was much consternation when we asked people to move on from their partially built project...
Here are some pictures from both sessions (combined)
- Makerspace 8