Every project has a marshmallow

I mentioned Tom Wujec’s TED-U talk in one of my TED conference roundups, so I was excited to see the talk go on the TED site today. From the TED blurb:

Tom Wujec presents some surprisingly deep research into the “marshmallow problem” — a simple team-building exercise that involves dry spaghetti, one yard of tape and a marshmallow. Who can build the tallest tower with these ingredients? And why does a surprising group always beat the average?

It’s easy to say things like “we need different approaches to problem-solving” and “it’s not all about rational, linear thinking and finding a single answer.”

But pat observations don’t pack nearly as much punch as an experiment, run multiple times with thousands and thousands of people – of all ages and educational backgrounds – that shows truly surprising results about who solves complex, team-oriented problems better or worse.

It’s a 7 minute video and it’s worth every minute.  (you especially have to see this if you are a parent, engineer, MBA, executive assistant).

(how it relates to the 30-second FedEx commercial will be obvious).

And more can be found at the marshmallow challenge website.

Tom Wujec’s talk:

…and the great, irreverent FedEx commercial:

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