Build Season Tip #2: Searching Strategies

Although easy, using Google searches and YouTube videos during the first few days of the build season may not provide the “best” design and/or strategy for the game challenge.

The first few days of build season are tough. It is hard to analyze all of the aspects of the game and narrow a wide range of strategies down to a few options. How do you sift through all of those brainstorming ideas? At the same time, what are other teams doing? What strategies are they going with?

It is easy to immediately start searching Google, YouTube, and Chief Delphi. The thought is searching for what is being done allows you to further enhance your ideas. However, searching for what other teams are doing or have done in the past actually hinders your ability to think creatively. Your thought process changes to only thinking about what you have seen. When discussing ideas with other people, you start referring to specific pictures or videos that “prove” that this idea will work. You may not even prototype an idea out of cardboard or plywood because there is a proven concept on the internet.

Don’t get me wrong, it is good to do research about what other teams are doing and what systems have worked in the past. But, do that research after your team has already decided what strategy is the best to make you successful. Your team needs to make a decision based on your desires, wants, needs, and resources available instead of what idea on the internet looks good.

Check out this video on FIRST Robotics Design. It does a great job of explaining some of these concepts.

Matt Starke (@FRCDesigns)

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