The marshmallow challenge is a simple, exciting, and instructive design activity that promotes and teaches valuable lessons in collaboration, innovation, and creativity amongst members of a team or group.

In 18 minutes, each can use one yard of tape, one marshmallow, 20 sticks of spaghetti, and one yard of string to build the tallest free-standing structure with the marshmallow on the top.

Just check out how to run the marshmallow challenge for detailed instructions.

The teams’ performance at the end of the exercise reveals some very fascinating lessons. What teams perform better, and why? What team underperforms? Why was the winning team so good? Why did some other teams perform so poorly?

If you need to get your team thinking outside the box to solve a problem, encourage them to brainstorm about a new concept, as an ice-breaker for new teams, or simply want to boost team spirit, innovation, and creativity, then have them partake in the 18-minute long marshmallow challenge.

The challenge was invented by Peter Skillman of Palm, Inc. and popularized by Tom Wujec of Autodesk.