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This is a quick fun activity that is often used to prompt participants to think creatively and come up with out of the box ideas to accomplish this simple fun task in a competitive exciting simple activity.
Time / 20 Minutes
Colored sheets of A4 paper , Masking tape
Directions and Set up :
Split participants into equal groups of 4 or 5 per group, give each group 10 sheets of A4 papers (Each group gets a different color of A4 paper sheets), Use the masking tape to create a start line where all groups will need to stand behind and a finish line (Distance between the start and finish lines is 1.5 to 2 Meters)
• The winning team will get the most paper airplanes across the taped line
• Each team has a different color paper
• You will have 3 minutes to strategize without your paper
• You will have 5 minutes to build your airplanes and get them across the taped line
What's the point from this activity ? :
The main point of this activity is to focus on the fact that we tend to stick too much to the rules even though there were too few rules in this activity and how making too many assumptions greatly hinders our ability to think creatively and come up with new, out of the box solutions to solve problems
Discussion & Debrief :
When running this activity, most groups do not use the 3 minutes to build a good strategy and brainstorm possible ways to make the largest number of aero planes out of their 10 sheets of paper and make sure they can fly the short distance from the start to the finish line , instead they rush to get to the construction phase and most of the groups spend the 5 minutes they get for construction to create as many paper aero planes (aero planes with wings and tail ) and the result is usually that most of the aero plains do not make it to the finish line because the designs are usually not very aerodynamic.
There are 8 famous blocks that prevent us from thinking creatively , the 8 blocks are:
1. Believing you aren’t creative
2. Making assumptions
3. Following the rules too strictly
4. Being serious
5. Avoiding risks or being wrong is bad
6. Always staying with your routines/habits
7. Thinking there is only one solution
8. Making judgments too quickly
If we apply the 8 blocks to what happened , ask the groups what assumptions did they make and what rules did they stick to that caused them to design the aero planes the way they did ?
Despite having very few rules in this activity , most groups will stick very strictly (Literally) to them , they will mostly assume that an aero plan must have wings and tail to qualify as an aero plane , while they can be more creative and simply just crumple each sheet of paper into a ball that becomes heavier and call that a new design or a futuristic aero plan and then each "Aero plane " will be heavier in weight and it will be very easy for them to fly or throw them over the finish line.
What other creative groups have done in the past is that they simply created their Aero planes and put them together in one stack with a rubber band so that the combined weight of all the paper aero planes will ensure they will pass the finish line.
Other groups simply put all their planes on one of the office chairs with wheels and they simply pushed the chair from the start to the finish line ensuring all their planes passed the finish line safely.
These were some examples of what other groups did who decided to think differently and challenge the 8 blocks to creative thinking .
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