The title says it all And this excerpt highlights the challenge.
Excerpt from How To Fly A Horse (The secret history of creation, invention and discovery) by Kevin Ashton
(Bold emphasis added)
“In 2006, Peter Skillman […] described what he called “the marshmallow challenge,” … Each team is given a brown paper bag containing twenty sticks of uncooked spaghetti, a yard of string, a yard of masking tape, and a marshmallow. The goal is to build the tallest possible freestanding structure that can tackle the weight of the marshmallow. The team members cannot use the paper bag, and they cannot mess with the marshmallow – for example, they cannot make it lighter by eating some of it – but they can break up the spaghetti, string, and masking tape. They have eighteen minutes, and they cannot be holding their structure when the time is up.
Skillman’s most surprising finding: the best performers are children aged five and six. Skillman says, “Kindergartens, on every objective measure, have the highest average score of any group that I’ve ever tested.”
Creative professional Tom Wujec confirmed this: he conducted marshmallow challenge workshops more than seventy times between 2006 and 2010 and recorded the results. Kindergartner’s towers average twenty-seven inches high. CEOs can only manage twenty-one-inch towers, lawyers build fifteen-inch towers, and the worst scores come from business school students: their towers are typically ten inches high, about one third the height of the towers built by kindergartners. CEOs, lawyers, and business school students waste minutes on power struggles and planning, leave themselves only enough time to build one tower, and do not uncover the hidden assumption that makes the challenge so challenging: marshmallows are heavier that they look… Wujec recounts those last moments: “Several teams will have the powerful desire to hold onto their structure at their end, usually because the marshmallow, which they just placed onto their structure moments before, is causing the structure to buckle.”
Young children win because they collaborate spontaneously. They build towers early and often rather than wasting time fighting for leadership and dominance, they do not sit around talking – or “planning” – before they act. And they discover the problem of the marshmallow’s weight quickly, when they have lots of time left to solve it.
Why do children do this?
..adults think before acting; children think by acting.
Talking while acting is useful, but talking about acting is not– or, at least, not often, and not for long. This is why “Show me” is such a powerful thing to say. “Show me” stops speculation and starts action..Adults start with some team members locking horns for leadership. Children start with everyone working together.
Creative partnerships are barely hierarchical– they would not be “partnerships” if they were – so little or no energy is expended on dominance rituals. “