Paper Planes for Business Leadership Skills


Bentley university published an interesting article in 2018 documenting how to play a simulation game with paper airplanes for business or technology students. This paper airplane game can be used to teach agile, waterfall, and scrum methodologies, as well as to promote collaboration and teamwork between students. This strategy has been used widely within the business industry, with world leaders like Disney University using it to prepare future employees for leadership positions, and many universities include it in their curriculums, including Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Bentley University, The University of Auckland, and Monash University, among others.
In Bentley’s experiment of this creative game, teams spent a short session (no more than 30 mins) workshopping the best way to produce paper airplanes that could successfully fly across the room. The students worked in development teams to design, build, and test paper airplanes following both waterfall and agile principles to experience the roles, processes, and challenges of each. Participants tracked their team’s progress throughout the activity, so they could draw conclusions about the benefits and challenges of each approach.

Survey results indicate that students learned the various roles and approaches of both methods through this experience. They also showed that students found this creative learning pedagogy to be the most helpful for their learning compared to viewing a powerpoint presentation or reading a journal article.

Mark Frydenberg, David J. Yates, and Julie S. Kukesh. “Sprint, Then Fly: Teaching Agile Methodologies with Paper Airplanes.”
Information Systems Education Journal Vol.16, No.5 (2018): 22-36.