Home > Becoming an Entrepreneur, Empowering Women, Leading Teams > A Crowdsourcing Success Story: How a teen robotics team got amazing results?

A Crowdsourcing Success Story: How a teen robotics team got amazing results?

Team intelligence is the power of crowdsourcing. I’ve been priveleged to witness team intelligence (or group collective intelligence) in action over the last several months via my 16-year-old son’s high school robotics project.  Thirty 11th and 12th graders working together to solve a complex FIRST robotics project.  Only 6-weeks to get it done.  Strategy. Planning.  Hardware. Drafting. Systems. Prototypes. Software.  Then a 3-day competition!

You can see their robot in the center.  With other robots that worked together with them in the final round.  The robot shot basketballs at amazing accuracy.  Automatic program and run remotely.  It collected balls.  Passed balls between robots and balanced on a bridge cooperatively for extra points! 

How did it happen?  How can a group of teens produce such a robot?  The answer is: Crowdsourcing.  Based on a Developed Team Intelligence.

It’s NOT the teacher!  It’s the power of the group at its best.  In past years, the teacher was the ONE with the answers.  This year, a new teacher led the project.  He believed that the kids had the answer.  And the solution came from them.  The teacher had few rules for process, cleaning, procedure.  The kids worked together to collect ideas, determine the way forward and build the solution.  They worked night and day.  And they did it on their own!

What is the key to this crowdsourcing success?

  • Hear all the voices
  • Respect for others
  • Common, compelling, time-sensitive mission
  • Clear roles and leaders
  • A can-do, collaborative spirit
  • Balancing thinking and doing
  • Not afraid to make mistakes
  • Positivity & belief
  • Lots of persistance, practice and hard work!

The STEAMPUNK 1577 team did it!  Great team.  Great robot.  Great results!

Wouldn’t you love to be part of a team like that?!

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  1. March 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Congratulations to your son! It’s always profoundly satisfying when a talented group of individuals can create something really impressive. I think this falls more into “group project” territory instead of de facto crowdsourcing, but nonetheless you should be very proud of your son and his team!

    • March 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      Seth – Thanks for your comment. The reason I wrote this post is the way my 16-year old son described the creative process. True crowdsourcing to get to the solution. He said “it proves that a group of teens can be better than one teacher”…. For me, this is the essence. The knowledge is spread out – not in one individual. What’s amazing to me is that the environment enabled listening, harvesting and using the knowledge…. It’s a group project, that I felt encompassed a crowdsourcing method for the initial strategy and planning…. But it wasn’t open to the world or people outside the group – so it’s a limited “crowd”… Great to get feedback and thoughts! Gloria

      • March 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm

        Well, I won’t argue with you about the power of collaboration. None of us is as smart as all of us! But the real separation between crowdsourcing and group work comes with how the group is formed; crowdsourcing pitches its problem to an unspecified number and breadth of people, and anyone interested can join in. It sounds to me that your son’s group was more or less “fixed”, which sort of leads it away from traditional crowdsourcing.

      • March 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm

        your clarification is right seth. thanks again. the group is the “crowd” which is fixed in this example – not traditional crowdsourcing. so i guess it’s more of a collaboration success story. a great team! the key being belief and enablement of the group. the great team makes the TALENT… in this case, especially when comparing to previous years (the same type if talented kids have been in the group project for the last 10 years)… what made this year so different?!

      • March 20, 2012 at 5:49 pm

        Probably the fact that your son was on the team this year 🙂

      • March 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm

        of course! 🙂 have a GREAT day!

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