Here’s how it works: Each team gets 20 pieces of uncooked spaghetti, some string, some tape, and a marshmallow. They have 18 minutes to create the tallest possible structure that will support the weight of the marshmallow. He tested teams of engineers, managers, MBAs, etc.
The engineers did pretty well, putting that marshmallow on top of 24 inches of spaghetti. But they were not the highest performing group. Who had the highest structure, topping all competitors with 25 big inches? Kindergarten kids.
Skillman sums it up something like this, “The kids jump right in. There’s no ten-minute discussion about who’s going to be the CEO of the Spaghetti Corporation.”
Incidentally, do you know who had the lowest score on this test? Business school students.
I suspect the kids were just having fun. Maybe people work better that way.
You can watch Peter Skillman talk about his results here: