Innovative Thinking – Paper Airplane Challenge – Blog 102

The Paper Airplane Challenge


The Paper Airplane Challenge is great to do with a group, but might not be as much fun if you are sitting quietly somewhere by yourself holding your Kindle.


Many of the activities above can be and are designed to be group activities and I have modified them so you the reader could still perform them.


This activity works great as a group activity, but you can still do the activity by yourself.  While it might not be as much fun, the core lesson is still there and I strongly encourage you to participate.  Remember, you will get out of this book, only what you put into it.  Here goes.


You are challenged to build the best paper airplane possible.  It will be judged not by looks, only by how far it flies.

RULES (Group)


Use one sheet of paper, 3 minutes to discuss the design, and 5 minutes to build it.  Then we fly!


If you are performing this activity by yourself, I recommend that you try to make at least three different paper airplane designs.  Here, you are competing against yourself and your own ability to create an award winning paper airplane by strictly adhering to the rules.


When you or the others at your table are ready, we can launch.  Find a large area where when you throw your airplane, it can fly as far as the design will allow without obstruction.


Have someone keep track which plane flies the farthest.  If it is just you, it will be very easy.


For the group, you will have a clear winner.  For yourself, which design worked best?  Was it your first idea?  The one you always build?  Or, was it a new design.  Did you push your own limits and look for different ways to get it to fly farther?  I hope you did.  It’s this pushing yourself that will return the highest rewards.  It’s like exercising any muscle…  No pain, no gain.


What if you took the original design for your plane and came up with three improvements and tested them to see if it made a difference?


A Lesson For flying Outside The Box


Some of the creative solutions are really outside of the box.  I love it!

One person took all of the airplanes from the group at the table, rubber banded them together to increase their weight (mass) so the had more momentum.

One group found an office chair with wheels, placed the airplane on the chair and kicked the chair across the finish line!  Very innovative!

My all time favorite solution didn’t come from my Masterclass, it came from a book I read about 10 years ago.

The book was called “Paper Airplane, A Lesson for Flying Outside Of the Box”.


This was another easy to read, 30 sentence book, with mostly all illustrations about a child with autism participating in a class airplane contest.



If you don’t want to know how the book ends, Don’t read the next blog “Spoiler Alert!”.


Lon Safko
Serial Innovator, Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Innovative Thinking


Tags: innovative thinking, creative, creative thinking, Innovation, critical thinking definition, innovation definition, critical thinking skills, creative process

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