The Maker Mindset

From the Story – Part 4

Stuck . . . must go back.

“Don’t touch it.” This was the hushed sentiment of the group that now huddled before the spider’s web. The leader looked back. The darkness hid his frustration. If this was a trap, he was not inclined to set it off. All but the one closest to the web took a few steps back to examine the situation from a distance. They stood quietly yet made attempts at touching the walls to either side. Lifting their torches high into the air, they looked for movement above them. Nothing. All was quiet and still. The sound of silence was not comforting. They would rather deal with a known target than deal with some unknown, and unseen, nuisance.

Retracing Their Steps

“Let’s go back. Not home.”

The one closest to the web turned back to face it. The frustration did show on his rugged face. Before his next move, he gave the immediate area a quick review. It looked real enough. But looks could be deceiving. And if experience has taught him anything, few things are as they seem. This fact was especially true for things underground, in the deep cracks and caverns of the unknown. His gut told him something was not right. Was this a trick? Could the spider’s web be a figment of their imagination? Was this some sort of sorcerer’s illusion? All these options were plausible. But they had no time for tricks, or delays of any sort. “We’ve lost enough time,” his voice muttered. The others heard, and agreed, but said nothing at first.

Image by Mark Frost from Pixabay

“Let’s go back. Not home. I mean, back to the crossroads.” The motivation and vigor they felt only moments before were now gone. They loathed the thought of having to retrace their steps and drudged the journey back to the crossroads. After a final look around, they solemnly turned to face the way in which they came. Their heart sank with every step. Their leader, now in the rear, encouraged them to remain strong, and hopeful. But his words fell on deaf ears, it seemed, as the party now felt the weight of their expedition fall heavily upon their shoulders. This was a hopeless endeavor, even if they do find their beloved friend.

Photo by Gabriel McCallin on Unsplash

The Crossroads

“Something’s wrong…”

As they ventured on, the path back to the crossroads seemed completely new to them, as if they had not passed this way before. It was more of a feeling than a truth. The ground looked the same, of what they could see of it. However, if they stopped to inspect the walls to either side, they would have found slight discrepancies from the path taken in the other direction. Each member of the group took notice of this, until one of them finally called out.

“Something’s wrong,” The group stopped, and stood. “There is something wrong with this place. It’s as if we are moving forward again, even though we are going back to whence we came.” “This is some strange magic,” They agreed. Each one could sense, in some way, that they were not going back. Despite their frustration, they continued and kept pace for another hour.

“Stop! We should have arrived at the crossroads by now.” The group stopped and looked around, hoping to find some answers in the darkness. “We can’t just keep walking.”

“But what else can we do?”

“We must have taken a wrong turn somewhere,”

“No,” the leader spoke up, hoping to bring some clarity to the situation. “We did not turn in any direction. We kept straight, as was the plan. This place is accursed.” He hesitated. “This must be why we have not seen or heard of anything else in this place. It is accursed with madness, and darkness. For all we know, it may not even be real.”

“We need to go back.”

“Back where?”

“To the web. Why?”

“I don’t know. I can’t explain it. At least, not exactly. But we all know this does not feel right. Something is amiss. It’s as if someone, or something, wants to confuse us. I’m not sure how; but something is hiding from us. The thing is, I do not want to make one bad decision after another. I just know we need to go back. I need to inspect that web more thoroughly. I feel I missed something.”

With no better option at hand, they turned around, again. Despite the consensus, the group moved slowly back toward the spider’s web. More time wasted, and still no further along in their mission. Reaching the web, they focused their energies toward a more thorough inspection of the area. Researching the deep resources of their memories, they reviewed all the traps and obstacles they encountered over the years.

Engineering Process:
Step 2

“…and one should consider everything…”

What is the second step in the engineering process? And what does that mean for a young group of engineers trying to learn how to use the story to build the scene?

Conducting research takes time, and one should consider everything – all possibilities to solve the problem at hand. This means reviewing both successful and unsuccessful attempts at solving similar problems. Yes, I did say unsuccessful attempts. Remember, each problem has similarities. However, each problem as unique attributes. Therefore, a current solution is not solving the problem efficiently. So, looking over ALL solutions to a problem is good practice.

The key to conducting good research is to focus on what specifically addresses the identified problem – the identified parameters that make the current situation unique. You must also keep in mind the needs of the people that the problem impacts. From that point, develop a plan. Not just in your head. Write your plan out. On a piece of paper, write out the following:

  • What is the stated problem?
  • What are the specifics of the problem?
  • Identify: who, what, where, when, and why.
  • How does the problem impact the people involved?
  • What current solutions exist?
  • And the list continues.


The important thing is – do the research. Keep notes, records, documents, and evidence.

Image by Genty from Pixabay

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