Whether the word domino is used literally to describe an actual series of real collisions, or metaphorically to reference causal linkages within systems such as global finance or politics, the term is a powerful symbol of the way that a small push can set off a chain reaction that results in a great deal of change. The mechanics of this are well documented in Rube Goldberg machines, where one object causes another to knock over a series of objects that would not otherwise have fallen unless the first one had been pushed. But there are many other ways in which the domino effect can be utilized, from a business standpoint to a creative one.
In writing, the domino effect can be utilized as an analogy to help understand how to structure scenes in a novel. The idea is to think of each scene in a novel as a separate domino that will eventually fall over and trigger the next scene to occur. Using this concept as a guide can help a writer to build up a story that is exciting and engaging for the reader.
A domino is a rectangular block, roughly thumb-sized, with a face divided visually into two squares that are blank or identically patterned on each side. It features a line in the middle to divide it into two ends, and each end is marked with an arrangement of dots, called pips, ranging from six down to none or blank. Each domino also has a value, or rank, determined by the number of pips on its face. Each player places a domino onto the table positioning it so that both matching ends touch (unless it is a double, which must be placed perpendicular to the other end of the domino).
When standing upright, each domino has potential energy, or stored energy based on its position. Once a domino is pushed over, that energy is converted to kinetic energy, or the energy of motion, which is transmitted from domino to domino until the whole chain falls over.
The last domino standing wins the game. In multi-round games, a winner is determined by awarding points for the number of pips on opposing players’ tiles—either counting a single domino as one or two (if it is double, for example, then it counts as either 6 or 12). The player who scores the most over the course of several rounds wins.
Domino’s uses the Domino effect to its advantage by constantly testing new delivery methods and technologies, like texting emoji to order pizza, or allowing customers to place an order with voice assistants. The company’s CEO Don Meij even gets in on the act by appearing as an undercover boss for a series of episodes of the TV show Undercover Boss, where he visits different locations to see how employees are handling customer demands and providing service. All of this is designed to keep the company moving forward and addressing its most pressing issues.