The Domino Effect


Lily Hevesh started playing with dominoes when she was 9. She loved setting them up in straight or curved lines, flicking the first one and watching the entire row fall. Now Hevesh creates incredible domino installations for movies, TV shows and events, including a recent tour for Katy Perry. She says one physical phenomenon is essential to her mind-blowing creations: gravity.

A domino is a small rectangular block with groups of pips inlaid on one side. The term comes from the Latin word for “fall” and the Spanish word for “little one.” Dominoes are usually made of wood, bone or some other material, but they can also be manufactured from polymer, which gives them a more durable, less expensive look and feel. The pips on the domino are typically white or black, although many sets are now made with colored pips or even Arabic numerals. Dominoes are most often used for positional games, in which players place a domino end to end against another, so that the ends of the adjacent faces match (e.g., a six touches a five or twos touch fours). In these games the exposed pips can form a total of any number, which is counted when the last domino falls.

Most dominoes have open ends, which are able to connect with other tiles. Generally, additional tiles are placed against the long sides of doubles, although sometimes a tile is played to a diagonal of a domino with an open end and then connected across the open end. Doubles with both ends open are commonly referred to as spinners.

The word domino is used in English-speaking countries, but it originated in France. Its origin is uncertain, but it may have been a contraction of either “démoine” (little one) or “dominique,” which meant “black garment” because of the contrast between the ebony blacks and ivory faces of the domino pieces. Some early European dominoes were made of silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell, also called mother-of-pearl or MOP; ivory; a dark hardwood such as ebony; or a combination of these materials.

The Domino Effect is a principle that states that when one change takes place in an environment, it can trigger a chain reaction, causing other changes to take place as well. For example, if someone decreases their sedentary leisure time, it is likely that they will eat less fat as a natural side effect. The Domino Effect can also be applied to business, such as when a company makes a change in its culture and it causes related changes, such as increased employee satisfaction or reduced turnover. In the case of Domino’s, listening to customer feedback led to a variety of changes, such as a more relaxed dress code and new leadership training programs. All of these changes were intended to increase engagement with employees and customers. As a result, Domino’s recently won the Top Workplaces award.