Design and Innovation Daily

Business strategy, design strategy, and competition robots

Posted in philosophy, product design by Dan on January 11, 2010

A couple cool products were posted on Core77 this week:

Roger Martin, the Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and one of the popular advocates of the “design thinking” movement, wrote a short piece at the Harvard Business Review explaining that, in a good business strategy, “where-to-play and how-to-win choices fit together and reinforce one another.” This is a basic but often-missed principle of business strategy, but its relevance is not limited to business. A solution that is both innovative and effective must implement a carefully chosen method (how to win), while the method must be developed in concert with equally careful choices in users, culture, and physical environment, as well as the problem itself (where to play). “Why Most CEOs Are Bad at Strategy.”

The where-to-play and how-to-play questions are especially important in the design of competition robots—and speaking of which, this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) season began on Saturday with the release of the rules for the game “Breakaway.” High school teams participating in the program each have six and a half intense weeks to analyze the game and then design, build, program, and test a 120-pound robot that will play this game. Among FRC’s many challenges in engineering, problem-solving, and teamwork, the robot design process is interesting because teams must develop the same two elements of their game strategy. At first glance, the game rules seem to tell you “where to play,” leaving teams to decide “how to win.” The best teams, however, will design a strategy that aims for mutual reinforcement between their robot’s functions and operation (how) and considerations of which field structures to interact with, which area of the field to play on, and how to interact with other robots (where).

Watch the three-minute animation describing the game itself and check out the FRC home page for more information.

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2 Responses

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  1. Ryan said, on January 11, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    You fucker. I’m not going to comment on any of those articles, because now you got “umbrella…ella…ella…eh…eh…eh” stuck in my head. Goddammit.


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