Innovation Challenge Criteria

Our team is currently brainstorming ideas for the Innovation Challenge this year. However, we have a question about the wording of the challenge from the manual:

Identify a problem or opportunity and design a solution to help people (or a community of people) keep, regain, or achieve optimum physical and/or mental health and fitness through active play or movement

We were wondering about the phrase ‘through active play or movement’; does this include concepts such as nutrition or sleep, or is the challenge completely limited to movement and exercise?

I think it would be a disservice to the community if great ideas were tossed aside because they don’t perfectly conform to the “active play or movement” portion of the problem statement. I would be extremely disappointed if judges rigidly apply that full statement, and discount submissions that help people achieve their optimum physical and mental health through means other than “active play or movement”.

I don’t believe FIRST wants to see 500 variations of the Fitbit submitted for this challenge. I have to believe that judges will consider high quality submissions that take a unique approach to improving physical and mental health, even if the solution doesn’t match the criteria 100%.

Of course no matter what your solution is, you’ll need to sell it to the judges.

Uninterrupted Presentation (3 min) The presentation is designed to communicate information to the judges on how the innovation matches the criteria.

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I think I agree with Ryan. A submission that directly addresses active play and/or physical movement will probably play better with the judges, but it’s probably not a strict requirement, and I would expect a truly great idea & execution that’s only somewhat related could still have a shot at doing well. But this is entirely my own speculation (and wishful thinking), I don’t think there’s anything in the manual that I could cite as evidence of that interpretation.

What bothers me about it is that they tell you what your solution should be, it narrows it down a ton. For reference, here was last years FLL project prompt:

The [CITY SHAPER] outlines the Innovation Project problem statement as follows:

In the Innovation Project, your team will:

  • Identify a problem with a building or public space in your community.
  • Design a solution.
  • Share your solution with others and then refine it.

They give you a theme for your problem to fall under, but they don’t theme what your solution should be. Not that I think anything is likely to change with the prompt, but I wish it was more similar to how FLL handles the project

If concept for your solution involves " active play or movement", then it would be acceptable.

This is almost the same challenge presented for FLL for the 2020/2021 season. For those who think " active play or movement" is a single solution you should reply here with what you do (or think) constitutes active play or movement.

They narrow down what field the solution should be in but they have not told teams what solution they should work on. The two teams I mentored last year worked on totally different problems and came up with totally different solutions (one was about creating ozone free spaces, the other was about accessibility for the physically handicapped). When I walked through the pits at the three events I volunteered at, I could tell there was a wide variety of problems being addressed. This does not mean that there will not be teams that end up choosing to address the same problem and possibly come up with similar solutions.

Perhaps teams having trouble with how to think about the Innovation Challenge should find some local FLL teams and ask how they come up with their ideas each year.

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