Let’s do the Marshmallow Challenge!

Let’s do the Marshmallow Challenge!

I facilitated The Marshmallow Challenge with our team last week as part of our agency’s monthly lunch and learn meetings. The Challenge is a good team-building exercise that encourages collaboration and creativity, at the same time teaching the importance of prototyping and not making false assumptions. It doesn’t take much time or too many resources. In fact, all you need are:

• 20 uncooked spaghetti sticks

• 1 marshmallow

• 1 meter of string

• 1 meter of tape

The task is to build, using only resources provided, the tallest freestanding structure with a marshmallow on top, within 18 minutes. I divided our group into teams of two and enjoyed watching them collaborate and design their structures.  As time ticked down, teams became noticeably tense with not being close to completion, and with four minutes remaining, I heard the token statement of failure: “Let’s wait until she calls time and then put the marshmallow on top.” As time expired, I had to laugh – not one of the structures was freestanding.

Not only was this good for team building and a fun way to spend our monthly team meeting, all the lessons we learned applied to how to handle marketing challenges. The end result is important, but be sure you spend enough time upfront, planning which strategy will transfer to solid execution. Done properly, you’re closer to reaching success.

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