Cantilever Beam Challenge

March 24, 2016
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Building a Cantilever is no easy feat. When we were first told of the challenge, all of the teams kind of just sat there for a minute. None of us had an immediate clear strategy to be successful. It was a weird, perplexing atmosphere that normally isn’t felt at the Innovation Challenge. My team was especially dazzled. We brainstormed for a solid 15 minutes trying to come up a sound technical approach but we were in completely over our heads. None of us had a good strategy. So finally we just started building to see what would happen. This then is where the lesson lies.

While sometimes it’s important to go into something prepared with an idea or strategy, sometimes it’s just as important to experiment. Trying something out is the best way to test it and so that’s what we began doing. We began tinkering with different ideas until we came up with a pretty good one – it didn’t win it for us, but had we tinkered more and brainstormed less I think we might have been able to come out on top.

Those 15 minutes of fruitless brainstorming proved costly, as we could have desperately used them in the end. And so while I’m not saying we shouldn’t be prepared or we shouldn’t strategize before diving into something – sometimes we do have to take calculated risks. If you feel you’re not capable to do the task at hand you should give yourself as much time as possible to try to do it rather than sit there thinking of possible ways to go about doing it.

In class for example If we’re given an essay prompt that we have no idea how to tackle, we shouldn’t just stare at it. We should start writing. Eventually an idea might come to us that otherwise wouldn’t have and it might catch on. In work, if we’re given a project that we don’t necessarily know how to do we have no choice but to experiment with what might and might not work – it’s our only option. True preparation tends to lead to success, but experimentation really is just another form of preparation and so we shouldn’t be afraid to try it – that’s certainly something the Innovation Challenge displayed today.

Winning Reflection - Dan Baran

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