I served as judge for a few events and noticed more and more teams are adopting certain designs that are populated through Youtube and past events.
However, while reviewing their engineering notebook, this adoption is usually not well documented or just something like “we found XXX issues with current design, so we have decided to change the design, current design is this (picture attached)”.
Most such notebooks show clear gap in the engineering design process (after all, they are copying mature designs). Some notebooks spent 80% of the pages discussing how to refine their claw bot, then suddenly there is a new bot that does front and rear lift, a conveyor ball picker, and a flap door at the back to drop balls on cubes – a popular design on youtube from a Chinese team several months ago. The question is, how should we take these kind of factors into consideration when judging for design/excellence awards? Should we even consider them for design awards when the design itself is not original?