Developers and engineers are happy to tell you how incredibly creative they are.
But a manager at Microsoft wasn’t so sure. So he devised a simple test called The Spaghetti Problem. The goal was to build the tallest tower possible using 20 pieces of dry spaghetti, some tape, some string and a marshmallow.
This manager ran this challenge for five years. He tested over 700 people including engineers, developers and MBA students.
Do you know who outperformed everyone? Kindergartners. Yes, six-year-olds beat everyone.
Did they have some special knowledge about Italian food or the consistency of marshmallows? Expert knowledge about the structural dynamics of spaghetti? Not at all.
What was their secret? They just jumped in and tried more stuff. They started failing immediately and learning quickly.
The more mistakes they made the taller they got their towers built.