The Domino Effect

Domino is a game in which players score points by placing domino tiles end to end on a table. These tiles have a number of spots, or pips, on one side and are blank or identically patterned on the other. When the dominoes are knocked over, they create a chain of matching numbers that continues to grow in length until a player cannot place another tile without causing the exposed ends to match. The first player to score all of their dominoes wins the game.

In the 1860s, French craftsman Joseph-Nicolas Poitevin created a small wooden board with twenty-four numbered squares and four rows of six circular notches or buttons in a circle on the other side of the board. His goal was to make the squares small enough to fit into a confined workshop while requiring an attention to detail that demanded respect for his craftsmanship. The dominoes he designed were very popular in cafes and grew into a fad that spread throughout Europe.

The term domino is also used in a figurative sense to describe the spreading effect that one event can have on subsequent events. For example, a soccer team that wins a few games might be able to generate enough goodwill in the community to qualify for state playoffs. The same idea can be applied to businesses and organizations. A company that makes a strategic decision to invest in technology might be able to attract more clients and lead to future growth.

One of the most famous examples of the domino effect is how a single pizza delivery can trigger a chain reaction that results in millions of customers rushing to their local Domino’s locations to order a pizza. Domino’s CEO, David Doyle, credits his success to focusing on customer satisfaction and using technology to drive growth. In addition to improving delivery times, Doyle implemented a customer survey that included asking customers how they wanted to receive their pizzas.

A Domino’s employee named Ivy Lee taught Schwab a strategy that she called “the domino principle.” The concept is simple: choose one task for the day and focus on it until its completion. Each completed domino then provides the energy needed to knock over the next domino in line. Schwab was able to use this strategy to help his steel company survive the Great Depression and become the largest independent steel producer in the world.

Hevesh spends up to a week designing and building each section of the installation, which is made up of the biggest 3-D arrangements first, then flat arrangements, then lines of dominoes that connect all of the sections together. She test runs the entire structure on a small piece of wood before beginning construction, and often takes video of each step in the process. She then uses the footage to fix any parts of the model that aren’t working as well.

While there are many different types of domino games, the basic object is that each player tries to lay their dominoes in such a way that the exposed ends of the dominoes match each other (one’s touching one’s and two’s touching two’s). When this occurs, the total number of points on the matched ends is scored. Depending on the game, the number of points awarded may vary, and doubles may count as either one or two (i.e., a 6-6 counts as 12).