Ohio states innovate award

States went great for us, ended up placing 7nth but we held first for like 3 hours but i was wondering if they changed innovate award or if it was wrong because i looked online and that wasn’t the award description i found they graded it like design but i thought it was about having an innovative approach to the game

Some of the awards (including innovate) have names that do not necessarily correspond intuitively to what they are meant to recognize.

Descriptions of these awards are available in the Judge Guide, beginning on page 15. The description of the Innovate award is:


Its strange that the innovate award doesn’t mention “innovative approach”. But they judge whether a team is innovative based on their engineering journal entries and interview, rather than how you play on the day. Which is why there is a heavy focus on the engineering journal in this award.


I think it is particularly strange in the case of ‘innovate’ that the name doesn’t correspond with the requirements anymore, as in previous seasons the awards description DID lean towards it being based largely on innovation (in design rather than approach to the game, although there would be overlap) and documentation of that innovation.

As recently as last season, the award description says:

The Innovate Award is presented to a team that has demonstrated a strong combination of ingenuity and innovation in designing their VEX robot.

In the current season, however, the description has been changed to basically read as ‘Design Award #2’. Personally, I find this a disappointing change from the RECF; if they are going to call it innovate, at least SOME reference to innovation should be included in what the judges are supposed to be looking for, IMO! Otherwise, just call it Design 2nd place and take out the confusion. Judges are trained using the judge guide, and it doesn’t refer to innovation in the award at all now…


Yes. both the Amaze award and the Innovate award have a bigger notebook component. There has been a subtle switch across the last years to make the notebook a bigger and bigger deal in the awards ecosystem. I’ll invoke / incantate @Tarek_Shraibati and see if he would like to comment on the direction and the path forward.


I’d like to add this is a great discussion for the EP / Coaches summit too. I know that in previous years there was a strong push from the RECF VEX Robotics community to have more awards where the Engineering Design notebook was strongly considered. Even on this forum, there was a lot of discussion that more and more teams were submitting incredible notebooks and there was not enough recognition for these teams. I think making the EDN part of the Innovate award was a good response to the feedback from the community. But as often happens, there are others in the community that have a different perspective. At the RECF, we welcome this type of feedback and are willing to “innovate” and adapt to best serve the community.

I’ve sent myself a note to add this as a future discussion topic.



I actually think having the EDN as a big part of additional awards is a perfectly reasonable push by the RECF, if that is an area they are working to get kids more involved in and wanting to ‘reward’ more. My biggest concern is about what the award itself is trying to accomplish and how unclear that is from a judge’s perspective. If the innovate award is to encourage and reward innovation, in addition to quality documentation related to that innovation, that should be clearly laid out in the requirements. Including some of the old requirements (from previous seasons) while also including that the EDN needs to be a top contender (*) would go a long way to clarify that.

As currently written, the innovation of the design appears to be basically irrelevant to who the judges should select as the award winner (based on a strict reading of the award requirements, as judges are told to do). If that was the intent, then I think they should name the award something else; having to discuss with a room full of judges that the ‘innovate’ award apparently no longer has anything to do with innovation as per the award requirements is awkward! If that was not the intent, then adding back some reference to innovation would make things much more clear and give judges better guidance. I thought the criteria listed in the 10/28/2019 judge guide was very clear and easy to explain and made intuitive sense for an award named ‘innovate’; it also included reference to the EDN, so it was clear one was required.

(*) Regarding top contender: Personally, I think that there are many innovative designs that are well-documented (as it relates to that piece) that don’t meet other qualifications for being a top contender (for the EDN as a whole) but should perhaps still be considered (since ‘top contender’ generally limits eligibility down to a small number of teams, and not necessarily the most innovative ones). Just a personal aside, though!


I’m one of these people that wanted more opportunity for teams with great engineering notebooks. As a judge at the Eastern PA and Delmarva Regionals, there are some great notebooks out there that rank in the same level of effort as the construction of a robot.

Graphs, tables, charts, sketches, CAD, and finally a picture show how the approach to robot design is taking on more “engineering” than “just swap parts until it works”.

One of my stumble points is that the EDN rubric doesn’t have places to notate for Amaze, Think or Innovate awards and that would be helpful going forward. That would allow the EDN judges to pass onto the interview teams on things to ask about.

Likewise the Excellence Award Interview rubric should have questions to help direct to the awards. One of my stock questions is “what really innovative mechanism is on your robot” and we get answers that may not have been apparent in the reading of the notebook.

In next seasons judging guide a flowchart of the EDN awards would be great to help drive home all the awards that are driven off the notebook. I think that most teams look at it as something only for Excellence, not that there are really chances at 5 different awards.


My team has a decent notebook ( we would have better but we had team problems) but iur bot completely defied all meta and we held first place at states fir 3 hours and finnished in 7nth but because are notebook wasnt up there we had no chance at the award that we thought was about being different it was a little frustrating for us


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