The Domino Effect – How Dominoes Create a Chain Reaction

When a domino topples, it creates a chain reaction that spreads outward from its starting point. This is the same kind of energy transfer that occurs when a nerve impulse travels down your body’s axons. In both cases, the triggering event is independent of the amount of energy the signal has; once it starts, the signal just keeps going. The word “domino” derives from a Latin word meaning, roughly, “fall.” And that’s just what happens when this series of small wooden blocks comes together. The term is also used for a game played with them, or for the process of laying down such pieces in lines and angular patterns.

Dominoes were first developed in China around the 12th or 13th century. The earliest ones were functionally similar to playing cards, but had markings that represented the results of throwing six-sided dice. Today’s dominoes have a line down the middle that visually separates each end into two squares, each bearing from one to six dots or spots (also known as pips). A domino set usually includes 28 such tiles, though there are larger sets available.

Hevesh’s mind-blowing domino creations are often built in sections, which she tests in her grandmother’s garage. She uses a drill press, radial arm saw, belt sander and other tools to make the parts for her installations. She starts by considering the theme or purpose of her piece and brainstorms images or words that might be appropriate. She then sketches the design on paper.

After completing a section of her installation, Hevesh films it in slow motion to check for errors or issues that she can correct. Once she’s confident that the section works correctly, she moves on to the next part of the display. This testing and iteration process helps ensure that her finished creation will be as flawless as possible.

In her work, Hevesh follows a version of the engineering-design process, which she calls a “domino approach.” She starts by thinking about the theme or purpose of her creation and brainstorming ideas. She then sketches the design on paper, which is where she comes up with the initial ideas for what she wants her final product to look like.

Once a section of her installation is complete, Hevesh lays it down in stages. She builds 3-D sections, then adds flat arrangements and finally lines of dominoes that connect all the sections together. Her goal is to create an effect that captures the audience’s attention and imagination.

The key to a successful domino effect is to ensure that all the components are working together in harmony, like a well-oiled machine. This requires meticulous planning and preparation, but it’s worth the effort. In addition to reducing risk, an effective domino effect can increase the likelihood that your message will be heard and remembered.

The next time you plan an important meeting or event, consider using a domino effect. It may just help you turn your big idea into a domino effect of success.