Taking the First Steps
Project14 is a new monthly project competition platform from element14. It's similar to Design Challenges without the time commitment and fewer barriers to entry. There are no applications to fill out so competition is open to all community members who want to participate! You won't be given any required kits to use so you must choose what components work best for your project and show video proof that your project works, kind of like your own version of element14's The Ben Heck Show!
What is Project14?
- A new monthly project competition platform
- Open to all community members who want to participate
- Each Month has its own theme
- Share your project in the form of a blog entry for a chance to win prizes
- Project Competition are always happening on the community
- Competitions will begin on the 14th of every month and last for two months
- There will be a new competition starting at the 14th of every month
- When a competition ends a new theme will be selected based on the monthly theme poll
- A poll is set up for members to vote on upcoming themes on the 14th of every month
How is this different from Design Challenges?
- Themes are general and not specific challenges
- No applications to fill out
- Open competition opposed to X number of challengers selected
- Simpler projects over a shorter period of time
- Kits are not provided giving you the flexibility to use whatever components you like
- Monthly project competitions are product agnostic and are not sponsored through a specific manufacturer
- Multiple prizes awarded every month so the stakes are lower
- Competitions encourage more participation and get people to try regardless of skill set.
- You decide future competitions through monthly voting
- Focus is on having fun and learning, not necessarily trying to change the world
- You can address a specific challenge as long as it sticks with the theme in your monthly project submission
Who It's For?
- Project14 is inclusive to all community members
- Regular project competitions are a way for novices, experts, and everyone in between to learn from one another and share the journey of taking ideas and turning them into projects
- Themes are general so you can choose to do a project however you want regardless of skill set
- If you are less experienced but looking to try your hand in projects this is a great way to get your feet wet
- You have the support of a community willing to help and peers to mentor you along your journey
- Those with more experience will perhaps have less of a learning curve and offer more complete projects
- You can use your expertise to demonstrate what's possible for others.
- If you see someone struggling with their project you are in a position to use your expertise to help others
Every month you'll have a new poll where you'll get decide a new monthly competition, based on your interests, that will take place a couple of months in advance. The hope is that these themes will be broad enough in scope so that everyone can participate regardless of skill set. Sort of how the element14's The Ben Heck Show turns to the community for ideas except for you'll be the one working on the project.
How are Monthly Themes selected?
- On the 14th of every month a new poll will go up with themes to choose from (initial themes and the first two monthly themes were chosen based on feedback from Top Members)*
- Comments will be used to decide themes for upcoming polls.
- If you like an idea for a theme you can increase the odds that it will be used in a poll by "liking", "commenting", or "marking it helpful".
- The poll will close on the 14th of the following month at which time it will be replaced by a new poll.
- The poll will decide the monthly project competition for the next following month.
How do you submit your own Project14 idea?
- Present your theme idea in the comments section of the monthly poll
- If you think of an idea for a monthly project competition theme you can select the final option to vote a new idea which you present in the comments section.
- You can also vote for an existing theme idea in the monthly poll and submit as many monthly theme ideas as you like in the comments section.
- If you would like to present an idea but would like feedback from other community members first, you can start a new discussion thread.
Even if you're not an electronics design expert, these Project14 competitions are an opportunity for you to take the first steps forward in transforming your ideas into projects. You see this process play out all the time on element14's The Ben Heck Show. By opening up these competitions to as broad of an audience as possible, this can be a place that brings together novices, experts, and everyone in between to learn from one another and share the journey that is taking ideas and turning them into projects. You see this process play out all the time on element14's The Ben Heck Show. Its also great for if you don't feel skilled enough or can't commit the time to a full-on Design Challenge. Now you can still make projects and compete for prizes!
How do you participate in a monthly project competition?
- Visit current theme (EX:Techno Toys) and kick off a discussion in the comments section of the doc.
- Visit the current theme space (EX: Techno Toys) and submit as many blog entries for your new project as you are comfortable with submitting
- To win a prize you must have at least one blog entry where you do the following:
- Give your project a unique name (EX: RoboCleaner 2000 for a robotic cleaning machine)
- You can change this as your project develops or if you think up a better name as this is one of the criteria you will be judged by
- Ensure that your project sticks to the theme for that monthly competition (EX: RoboCleaner 2000 would be a good fit for a theme related to Cleaning Helpers)
- If you can't think of project related to the current monthly theme you can begin thinking about next month's theme as it will already be announced.
- If neither theme appeals to you then you can check out the monthly theme poll to vote on one that does or submit your own idea for a monthly theme
- Give your project a unique name (EX: RoboCleaner 2000 for a robotic cleaning machine)
How do you get help with a project you are working on?
- You can ask for help in the comments section of the current theme (EX: Techno Toys)
- You can ask for help on something in any of your blog entries related to your project submission in the current theme space EX: Techno Toys
- You can start a discussion thread on the Project14 and ask for help
- You can comment on another project if you have a question about how a community member was able to do something.
- A Jury of Peers (element14 community members as well as element14 staff) will actively monitor Project14 to help people with questions related to their projects
How Winners Are Chosen
Multiple prizes will be awarded for the winner of each monthly competition. A month is not a long time for a project competition so the emphasis is more on the journey and not the finished product. By awarding multiple, smaller prizes you get to experience the fun of competition while keeping the emphasis of Project14 on learning from one another and taking the first steps to creating full blown projects down the road. You'll also gain more confidence which you can use to enter something like a Design Challenge for the chance to win even bigger prizes!
How are finalist determined?
- Members can discuss their project in the Project14 and any activity such as "liking" or responses marked helpful is taken into consideration as being related to level of interest for the project.
- Members can indicate which project idea they like by liking, marking helpful, or responding to a comment in the project theme (EX:Techno Toys)
- Members can indicate which project they like in several ways such as “liking” a blog entry related to a project submission, commenting on a blog entry related to a project submission, and rating a a blog entry related to a project submission. (EX: Techno Toys)
- The projects which receive the most positive feedback from members of the community have automatically have their projects submitted as finalist to win prizes
What criteria is used to determine what finalist win prizes?
- A Clever Project Name
- How would you market it?
- How Well the Project Sticks to the Theme
- Video Proof that it works
- Video is an informative way to learn.
- Seeing someone do something instills confidence you can do it.
- Are you doing something no one has ever done before?
- The Steps - how well did you document the steps to complete the project
- Images and Video are weighted heavily
What kind of prizes do you win?
- Small prizes will be awarded for projects that use video to demonstrate they are working
- Don't worry if you are not able to complete your project as there will be a new competition every month
- If you put in the effort to try your hand at a project you will meet people in the community willing to help you
- You'll gain confidence as well as experience by trying and set yourself up for winning future Project14 Monthly Competitions
- You'll put yourself in a good position to compete in Design Challenges for the chance to win even bigger prizes!
- The first competition will award three first place winners with a shopping cart of $100 to buy something useful for their bench from any of the element14 transactional sites!
A Jury of Peers
Something else that will be different is how judging will take place. Kick off a discussion of your idea in the comments section of the current theme (EX:Techno Toys ) Projects will be submitted in the form of a blog post in the theme space (EX: Techno Toys ) You are free to submit as many comments and as many blog posts as you like but to be considered for a prize you must submit at least one blog post in the current theme space (EX: Techno Toys ). Community members can indicate which project they like best in several ways such as "liking" a project, commenting on a project, and rating a project in the theme space; "liking" an idea in the current theme space (EX:Techno Toys ) , or any useful discussions related to the project in the Project14 space ( Project14 ). We'll take the ideas, projects, and discussions that generate the most activity from community members and put them before a panel of judges consisting of a combination of element14 staff and a "Jury of Peers" consisting of community members who volunteer.
How can you volunteer to judge?
- A future announcement will ask for volunteers to participate in the Jury of Peers
- It's our hope that a system can be worked out where members can sign up for "Jury Duty" and a rotating cast of mentors/jurors once logistics is worked out.
- Feel free to contact either myself tariq.ahmad or e14megan for more details or if you are interested in being on the Jury.
Can you still win or participate in the monthly competition if you're on the Jury?
- You are free to participate but you are not allowed to win prizes
- As a member of the jury your primary job will be to help mentor people who are struggling with completing their project
Sharing the Journey
The most intriguing part of this is that judges will act as mentors and give assistance to community members that need help with their projects. By agreeing to be a judge, you won't be able to compete for prizes but you are allowed to submit a project if you like. One of the primary purposes for monthly project competitions is to help encourage people to take their first steps to turning their ideas to completed projects. Getting your feet wet is the first step before learning how to swim. As a judge you'll be sharing the journey with those participating in projects, helping them along if they get stuck on something, and making this a learning experience.
Step 2: Post in the comments section of the current theme to begin a discussion on your idea. (EX: Techno Toys) Videos, pictures and text are all welcomed forms of submission.
Step 3: Submit a blog post of your progress on your project by the end of the month. You are free to submit as many blog posts in the space for the current theme (EX: Techno Toys) until the beginning of the next theme. We'll accept blog posts until 12:00 am CDT on the 14th of the following month. If you're looking for inspiration check out the projects on the element14's The Ben Heck Show or on Design Challenges.