The Airship crew had an incredible team celebration recently. We celebrated crew members' birthdays with delicious pizza and homemade cake, and we created a new team-building Halloween tradition. Introducing Airship's inaugural "Great No-carve Pumpkin Decoration Chopped-style Contest."

The best part? Watching our crew members' Halloween creativity flourish under constraints. The benefits of limitations on creativity have long been studied and cited -- "Constraints play a role in many different creative domains, and in many of the most revolutionary creative products of our time."

We're often faced with problems that have to be solved using limited resources. Our team does such a great job overcoming those challenges in technology, we had to see how they would do in our ultimate Halloween, pumpkin-decorating challenge!

The Rules (a.k.a. Constraints)

We looked to the Food Network show, Chopped, to inspire our rules. A brief summary of the show: chef contestants are given a mystery basket with required ingredients they must use to create their dish. A shared pantry is available, but some items and equipment are first-come-first-serve. All the chefs are given the same mystery basket ingredients and pantry access, and whoever delivers the best dish in the time limit wins.

Creative Constraints - Halloween Edition with mystery bucket and craft pantry for the Airship Pumpkin Decorating Challenge
A look at our required mystery bucket items (left) and craft pantry (right). Included in mystery bucket: cotton balls, creepy crawlers, red lipstick, rubber bands, candy corn, sequins, beads, and googly-eyes.

Our crew members were paired in teams of two. Each team was given a mystery Halloween bucket with supplies they had to use in some way to decorate their pumpkin. We also provided a shared pantry filled craft supplies they could use, but we did not provide enough items to go around. They had 30 minutes to decorate their pumpkin, and then each team had to present their creation to the judges -- our awesome neighbors at Pepper Place, Peritus PR!!

The Competition

Here's a look at our team in action!! Another great thing about our competition is that, because there is no carving involved, one of our remote crew members, Lindsay, was able to participate!!

Creativity Constraints - Halloween Edition: The teams at work during the competition, even our remote worker Lindsay!!
Above left: Lindsay on Zoom - perfectly aligned to see the pumpkin creation!! Above right: Danielle and Adam creating a mysterious pumpkin with Mark and Alex in the background. We celebrated Mark and Alex's October birthdays earlier that afternoon!
How we found creative through constraints in our pumpkin contest - Airship blog
Above left: Luke and Trent not sharing any hints about what they're creating! Above right: Shantanu, our newest crew member (yay!), and Austin.
The Airship No-Carve Pumpkin Decoration Contest!
Above left: Mark striking a pose. Above right: Sarah and Lindsay showing off awesome remote team skills.

The Winning Pumpkins

Our witty panel of judges awarded each pumpkin a winning category and selected one pumpkin as Best in Show. Here are the results!!

Winner: "Coolest Pumpkin"

Team Birthday Boys, a.k.a. Mark and Alex!

Winner of Coolest Pumpkin in the Airship Pumpkin Decoration Contest
Snowman Pumpkin

Winner: "Most Topical Pumpkin of All Time, Believe Me"

Team Danielle and Adam with "Donald Trumpkin - Making Pumpkins Great Again"

Airship Pumpkin Contest Winner - Donald Trumpkin
Also a contender for scariest

Winner: "Most Hipster Pumpkin"

Team Shantanu and Austin with their Hipster Librarian - ironic man bun included!

Airship Pumpkin Contest - Winner of Most Hipster Pumpkin!
Craving a pumpkin spice latte now

Winner: "Fanciest Pumpkin"

Team Sarah and Lindsay!

Winner of Fanciest Pumpkin Category
That's Ms. Fancy Schmancy to you

Winner: "Scariest" AND "Best-in-Show Pumpkin"

Team Trent and Luke, who spent a lot of effort to incorporate the Peritus PR logo into their design. Very clever!!!

Airship Pumpkin Contest Best in Show and Scariest!


In the end, we had a great time during this Halloween challenge because of the creative limitations. It made us think and act quickly to solve a problem and reach an end goal. We hope everyone can take small opportunities like these to strengthen problem-solving skills using creativity!!

If you are interested in learning more about how creativity can thrive in the midst of limitations, here are some resources we found scouring the web:


Start with: What problem are you trying to solve? 

One of the activities we work through revolves around refining your problem statement. A problem statement is the key business problem that needs to be solved. In software development, it states “what has to be done” for a project to succeed. It does not say, “how it has to be done.”

We use the 5W’s + 1 H format as well as the SMART Framework when establishing a problem statement. In fact, you can draft your own problem statement by using our free download. This download will get you thinking through some of the questions and answers prior to starting your project.

Download: Problem Statement
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