The Domino Effect Explained

Domino’s is an international pizza delivery company that has more than 18,800 stores worldwide. It also employs a large number of franchisees who run their own restaurants. As a result, it has a global reach that can expose it to geopolitical risks. But its broad geographic dispersal also limits those risks.

The Domino Effect Explained

In business, it’s often said that a small change in one area will trigger a chain reaction and cause other areas to follow suit. This phenomenon is known as the domino effect, and it’s a powerful way to understand how to leverage your resources.

A domino is a game piece made from rigid materials such as wood, bone, or plastic. It’s shaped like a rectangular block and has many nicknames, including bones, pieces, men, tiles, and stones.

These blocks can be arranged in different ways to make fun patterns or pictures when they fall. A person could even build a domino wall or tower using thousands of them.

But a great domino display requires something else as well: the force of gravity. That’s the underlying reason why Hevesh and other domino artists can create mind-blowing installations that tumble for hours on end.

“Gravity is the main thing that makes it possible,” Hevesh says. She builds her domino art by arranging the pieces in a way that will create the greatest amount of energy when they fall.

She uses a version of the engineering-design process, beginning with brainstorming images or words she might want to use in her project. After she’s chosen her themes, she sketches out the layout and calculates how many dominoes it will take to make the design a reality.

Then she begins putting the pieces together. She starts by placing them in rows, a pattern that can be used to form patterns or shapes as they fall. She also arranges them in a circle.

Next, she creates a track that will guide the dominoes as they tumble. Her designs can be as simple or elaborate as she wants, and they can include straight lines, curved lines, grids that form patterns when the dominoes fall, and even 3D structures.

Once she’s got the layout set, Hevesh explains to her team members how to place each domino and where they should go on the track. When the first domino falls, it will release some of its potential energy, which is stored in its body as kinetic energy (see Converting Energy).

This energy travels from one domino to the next, providing the force needed to knock it over and start a domino chain. Then, each new domino takes on more of that energy until it is finally knocked over.

It’s this chain reaction that gives the domino effect its name. It’s a useful metaphor for a strategy that Ivy Lee taught Charles Schwab many years ago: find the one activity that will generate enough energy to knock over other activities, and then concentrate on it.

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