The $5 Challenge – A Stanford Strategy Story…

Back in 2009, Stanford prof Tina Seelig split students in the school of engineering into teams and gave them an envelope containing $5.

Teams had only two hours to generate as much money as possible. Each team would get three minutes to present their project to the entire class.

Here is Tina’s own article explaining the experience: The $5 Challenge

What would be your Strategy?

Check out the video below to hear how the challenge went… and how to use this thinking in your own life and business…

The teams that made the most money didn’t use the five dollars at all.

They realised that focusing on the money actually framed the problem way too tightly. They understood that five dollars is essentially nothing and decided to reinterpret the problem more broadly: What can we do to make money if we start with absolutely nothing?

In our own lives and businesses it is very easy to limit ourselves to “how do I do more of what I am already good at?” or “How do I use my current capacities to maximise return?”.

How do you do strategy for your life and business?

It feels good to share a video again… it has been 6 weeks of procrastination. Thanks to all of you who reached out with encouragements and ideas!

2 responses to “The $5 Challenge – A Stanford Strategy Story…”

  1. Thank you for your post. I am a long time follower of yours but first time I leave a comment. It arrived at the right time just when I am considering opportunities to grow my own personal brand beyond my 9-5 job. Found enlightening the concept of seeing beyond our own strengths and thru the other’s people eyes. And networking, always a struggle.


  2. Thank you for this video. It showed the approach I brought to my project: the RiverArch, which would provide more housing than any other building in the world, as well as a host of other opportunities. I started with “How do I fulfill this need…” and have never wavered from that.
    To your second point on networking, progress is happening there too, with a contract proposed from a major UAE developer/investor. They’ve already agreed, but I have to be careful of my own liability on this high risk/high reward venture, so it’s going through the legal and due diligence process now, including over UAE-specific Surety Bond issues. I’ll let you know if we succeed in Round 0 fund-raising (I call in Round Zero, because it is concerned with the pre-application campaign, and ends with being allowed to submit the Pre-Application Statement (PAS)).

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