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Creativity Exercise: The Most Profitable Lego Tower

Creativity Exercise: The Most Profitable Lego Tower


Purpose

This entertaining exercise enables delegates to practice their creativity and problem solving in a team. It can also be used as a game or competition between different groups with a prize at the end.

Objective

Make a Lego tower with the highest profit to win

What You Need

  • Lego bricks. It is up to you what type of bricks you want to include for this exercise, though ideally the same types and quantities need to be available to all groups to make it fair. Optionally you can limit the types to the following:
    • 2 x 2
    • 2 x 4
    • 1 x 8
    • 1 x 2
    • 2 x 8
  • Timer
  • Optional prize

Setup

  • Divide the delegate to groups of 3.
  • Explain that the objective of the exercise is that each group must make a tower with the Lego bricks. There is a cost involved in making the tower and there is a profit to make based on its height. The group with the highest profit wins.
  • The performance of each group must be timed. Each group should indicate when the tower is ready and you should then record the total construction time.
  • The cost calculations are as follows:
    • Materials. Each brick is £1 irrespective of its size.
    • Labour. Calculate the time it takes to make the tower in minutes. The cost is this value multiplied by 10 in pounds. For example, if it takes 5 minutes to make the tower, the labour cost will be £50.
  • The profit is calculated as follows:
    • Measure the height of the tower in cm. Multiply this by 2 and this would be the profit in pounds. For example, a 40 cm tower produces £80 profit.
  • To facilitate cost calculations for materials, record the total bricks given to each group at the beginning of the exercise and then count the remaining bricks after completion so that you can use the difference as the number of bricks used to make the tower.
  • Allow about 20 minutes before calling everyone back if they have not finished already.
  • Ask groups to measure their profits and then compare them to declare the winning group.
  • Optionally you can provide a prize.
  • Follow with a discussion.

Timing

Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes

Activity: 20 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes

Discussion

Which group did best and why? What strategy did you use to make a profit? Were you happy with the performance of your group? Did you nominate a leader in your team? Did you divide tasks so everyone could work in parallel? If you had a chance to go through this exercise again, what would you do differently?

Variations

  • More challenging. You can introduce resource limitation by limiting the number of bricks available for each group. Their challenge is then to construct the most profitable tower from the available resources.
  • Barter. You can allow the teams to barter bricks with each other. It is up to them how they want to do this though they can only barter bricks for bricks. There is no money in this case.
  • Trade. You can allow full trade between the teams so they can freely buy resources from each other for a price. You can provide Monopoly money to facilitate this part.