The Kanban Challenge

What is Kanban? A method of productivity inspired by the Toyota Production System and Lean manufacturing that helps people to manage work done in teams. Teams use Kanban boards as a visual to see what work has to be done, what is currently being worked on, and what is done. The basic board is pictured below:

To Do

Tasks needing completion go in this column.

Tasks that are currently being done are in this column; there is a Maximum for this column.

All tasks, once completed, get moved into this column.

What did eleMENT do? We took this concept and made it into a competitive team challenge called the Kanban Challenge. Groups of four would compete to complete 21 tasks in 45 minutes, only being able to work on 3 at a time per Kanban, and reign champion. The tasks ranged from silly to serious, for example:

  • Post the eleMENT Facebook Page link on two sophomore’s walls who would be interested in the program
  • Solve a complicated math equation
  • Mummify a member in toilet paper
  • Figure out what eleMENT stands for
  • Build the eleMENT logo out of craft supplies
  • Blow up 20 balloons then pop them
  • Periodic Poem (Make a poem incorporating 13 elements from the periodic table)
  • Make a chemical model with marshmallows and toothpicks
  • Record a 1 minute rap
  • Solve a 100-piece jigsaw puzzle


“We liked that this event required us to utilize teamwork and communication in a pressured situation, while keeping an overall fun environment.”

“This was a perfect play on the competitive spirit of IMSA students and I foresee this inspiring more competition-based events as engaging as this one.”