Creativity, Innovation and Change MOOC. Week 1 – Paper Tower Exercise “Exorcising the Procrastinator” Martin Silcock. The Task. Find an A-4 size (8"x11") sheet of paper Try and fail multiple times to build the tallest free-standing structure your creative mind can come up with.
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Week 1 – Paper Tower Exercise
“Exorcising the Procrastinator”
I found it difficult to actually start playing with ideas without a plan. So I did not do any early trials
I circled around the task, thinking about it at odd moments. I felt a resistance to just start. I think this was because I wanted to visualise the final outcome before starting. I certainly tried to challenge the constraints in my mind in lots of what if and why type questions. It was all very logical
By this stage I was looking at others people’s attempts and feeling envious about their modelling skill. I also felt slightly disheartened. I saw others actually doing some of the approaches I had thought of that I thought were innovative e.g. someone had photocopied a picture of the highest tower in the world in Dubai. I had been going for cleverness!
I found myself commenting on other people’s tower? But not having a go myself – a kind of procrastination – when its in your head its ultimately flexible – no commitment
I did lots of informal thinking (thought experiments?) about the constraints etc. such as:
This came up with ideas like – “it says nothing g about processing the paper in some way.”
But this led to internal talk about : “I have not got time to do that, its will be fiddly and could be a waste of time.” (I did not experiment…I just did not do it, I was happy to leave it there as a conceptual idea….and almost self satisfied that I would never know.
I also posted on the forums about one example about how I thought maybe competition was great creative stimulus- people wanting to out do each other…but I was not even in the race…I was being beaten before I had even got to the race track….in my head!
This also led me to think…there was no right answer….you will never know you have the “right” solution – it’s the process that is important so just have a go (maybe the breakthrough thought)
So now just needed to do something as time was now short- one day to go
I then started work on the tower. I though t, if I could get to half a meter that would be fine- no time to devote
First , folded the paper in half
Then I folded the sides of the paper into the centre line
Then I stood it on the table – and looked at it…..aha a triangle, could I make triangle tube components and stack them
That seemed good idea as triangles are strong shapes!
Then I cut A4 into 4 strips and repeated the folding at a smaller scale then slotted two tubes together
Yes they stood.
Now for 3rd section …problems met : it would not fit in and remain stable.
Tried to create notches at top of the tube to slot together – partly ok, but not strong enough. Need to make the tube stronger.
How could I interleave the sides…how about a slot and wrap a lug through. Quick snip and slipped together paper sections – wow that is far stronger.
Repeated at other end- even better.
Made two of these and yes that worked + the lugs also acted as bases for each section. Happy had solved it….so just made the top two sections much tighter an d slotted together and held together by friction
Tried to erect tower – aw no, instability at bottom. Toppling over – too top heavy, need a wider base
Fixed it by opening up the bottom lug on first section for wider footprint on table
Success- deep breathe- and sigh
having folded into 4 strips tube the penny dropped and I had a strategy to try
The final tower
After a successful
tower I created larger sized
component out of A4 to show
the lock construction
This was needed as the components
tended to open up
The locking also created a resting
point for the next section
The top 2 sections I made thinner
and just slotted in to get to 65cm