How to Design a Domino Set


A domino is a small rectangular block with either one or six pips or dots on each face. It is generally twice as long as it is wide, and each side features a line that divides it visually into two squares, called ends. Each end of a domino is marked with a number from zero to six; those with fewer numbers are considered lighter in value. Two ends of a domino can be “matched” by placing them edge to edge against each other; this is known as laying a piece. A domino may be used to play various games, such as blocking and scoring games, or positional games.

Dominoes are commonly made of wood, although they can be found in plastic, metal and other materials. They can be designed to form lines, curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, stacked walls, or 3D structures such as towers and pyramids. Some players use dominoes to practice a game of chance, while others create works of art.

The term domino is also used to describe any scenario in which a small trigger causes a series of events that grow larger and more complex over time. For example, when a woman begins to make her bed each day, she is setting herself up for an identity-based habit that will eventually cause her to be more inclined to maintain other healthy habits. Similarly, when a small business owner begins writing blog posts regularly, she is setting herself up for a reputation as a thought leader in her field, which may lead to other opportunities.

To create her mind-blowing domino sets, Hevesh follows a version of the engineering-design process. First, she considers the theme or purpose of an installation and brainstorms ideas that might help her express it. Then she makes test versions of each part of the design, making sure they work individually before putting them together. She has even filmed each of her largest creations in slow motion to check that they will all come together at just the right moments.

Physicist Stephen Morris agrees that gravity is the key ingredient to a great domino project. He explains that when you stand a domino upright, it has potential energy, or energy stored up based on its position. When you knock it over, however, most of that energy is converted to kinetic energy, or the energy of movement. This energy is transmitted to the next domino, providing the push it needs to topple it as well. The chain reaction continues until all the dominoes have fallen.

When it comes to business, the domino effect is a useful concept that can be applied to any situation in which one small event leads to an increasingly large and complex cascade of outcomes. For example, a new company may start with one employee and grow to include many more. As the company grows, its leaders must be careful to ensure that the organizational structure can support the additional people and new processes. Otherwise, the company may find itself in a situation in which one mistake can have disastrous consequences.