Is there really inspiration in teams?

“Is there really inspiration in teams?”


We can try and come up with metrics to try and quantitatively determine the exact amount of inspiration on every team till we’re blue in the face. In fact, with enough prodding, I’m sure Karthik will supply you with a nice Excel spreadsheet to automagically determine just that :smiley: .

But I have a better idea… just ask!

Ask Mark (H or B), Karthik, Ian, Roly, Steve, Tamara, Tristan, Jon, Justin, Jeff, Neel, Zaid, or myself. Of course the answer you’d get from these people is fairly obvious, but what is not obvious is which team all these people came from.

Confused? They’re all 188 alumni, so aren’t they all from the same team? Check Andy Baker’s post, and take a glimpse at Steve W’s comments. Teams are cyclical - the team that “Celestica built” was different from the team Karthik and I were on, which was different than the team that Ian and Tristan were on… and that team was much different from the one you are on now.

Student-built/mentor-built/student-led/mentor-led, we’ve been there and back again, every which way - and all throughout these transformations, go back to that list of names above, and you’ll find inspired people at each and every stage.

But what about other teams?

All teams are the same. We are all inspired A LOT. I tend to over-generalize with statements like these, because obviously not all teams are EXACTLY the same… but we are more alike than we care to admit. Why do you think teams (including ours at times) keep finding the need to claim they are “more student-built” or “more student-led” than the next team? It’s just an easy way to create our own “uniqueness” which otherwise isn’t there.

I get that a lot of people here are trying to say that its hard to measure inspiration… but let me take this to the real world, as I do see a great point in starting this thread.

Point 1: A lot of companies ask their mentors just this… how can you give me numbers, metrics, anything logical that quantifies what exactly I am spending all this money on??

While we cant exactly define inspiration, we can put some metrics to it like what is the increase in high school students that go on to higher education? How many kids on your team go on to careers in science and technology (ie this thread!!)? What schools are they going to (this thread)?? And how do I get them to come work for me when they are all done!!! Companies want to see some value out of what they are doing. True a lot of them will do it no matter what the answers to these questions are… but if we can back up what they give with great facts (which FIRST actually does if you look at some of their reports), that relate to your team, it really helps justify it, especially to any people in the company who may think there is a better way to spend that money.

Point 2: Metrics are real life engineering.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I am actually part of a group that is initiating CMMI in our company. Part of the improvement cycle in the engineering world is to take metrics on how you are currently doing so you can determine how and if you have improved. This is HUGE now adays as every company is trying to get ahead. We have to put metrics to nearly everything we do. The other day we were discussing what kind of metrics we could take on our testing process, failure rates, number of revisions to documents, etc.

Metrics are a way to judge how you are doing, and also look ahead to see how you can improve. I think this thread was started with a similar intention. He’s not asking “what does inspiration mean” He is asking how can we begin to quantify inspiration in one way, not every way, not the big broad picture, but how do we put some math to this to present to our companies… how do we justify FIRST’s mission. Have we really been inspiring students? or are most of them just doing what they would have done without all this extra money being spent on them.

puts the soapbox back in the closet :slight_smile:

This new thread EXACTLY proves my point :slight_smile: Check out question #3!