November 24, 2021 Announcing the Winners of the 2021 Topcoder Innovation Awards

The 2021 Topcoder Innovation Awards recognizes the biggest and brightest things that happened at Topcoder this year. We are excited to announce this year’s winners across six categories: Program of the Year, Power User, Cutting Edge, Public Sector, Wipro Partnership, and Community Choice. 

Cutting Edge Award

Highlights the tinkerers and mad scientists using Topcoder for something downright cool, edgy, unique, and potentially disruptive. An amazing use case of engaging the Topcoder Community for innovation!

NASA (Ground Control Station Application) – Mike Politowicz, Eric Chancey
NASA needs Ground Control Station (GCS) software for small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS; i.e., drones) that can be safely used for live flight operations while also providing the functionality necessary for research for advanced human-automation teaming concepts. NASA initially engaged the Topcoder Community in a series of Topcoder Skill Builder challenges to skill everyone up on QGroundControl so they could eventually create a new version through a hybrid approach of Challenges, Tasks, and Freelancing.


Recognizes the project or customer that stood out the most to the Community this year, based on the number of opportunities, the type of work, technology, brand awareness, and customer engagement.

Odyssey wins with the most Community nominations! They are a specialist bank serving the blended financial needs of business owners, property entrepreneurs, and family businesses. Over the past year, the bank has been building a fully functional digital bank with the help of the Topcoder Community and Wipro taking on over 1,250 functional requirements. This is truly an Open Talent program combining crowdsourcing challenges and freelancer talent.

Power User Award

Awarded to a Topcoder advocate and prodigy who is figuring out the best ways to engage the Community and make things happen.

Bhuvana Iyer – Service Manager – Product Delivery Manager, Castrol
Most people go with the motto, “why fix things when they aren’t broken?” But not Bhuvana Iyer. She constantly strives to get the best out of her vendors. She’s led by example and embraced Topcoder to drive delivery at speed within bp. Bhuvana has stepped outside the comfort zone and leveraged crowdsourcing to accelerate the time-to-market for the bp Castrol application.

Public Sector Award

Innovative Federal organizations making a tangible difference, internally and externally, by using the Topcoder Platform and Community.

NASA Langley Research Center is the 2021 Topcoder Innovation Awards Public Sector category winner! Mike Politowicz, Eric Chancey of NASA have turned to crowdsourcing with Topcoder to build two separate state-of-the-art applications for NASA Langley Research Center—The NASA Ground Control Station software application for small unmanned aircraft systems, and The Human-Autonomy Teaming Task Battery application, or HATTB. The HATTB is a research software application used to conduct experiments that evaluate the performance of research participants as they monitor simulated autonomous vehicles and simultaneously perform various other predefined tasks.

Wipro Partnership Award

Honors outstanding people and amazing teamwork to showcase the power of leveraging Topcoder and Wipro to achieve IT innovations.

Vivek Aggarwal – Wipro Practice Director
Vivek has been critical in working with bp stakeholders and Topcoder to figure out the best way to use crowdsourcing. Vivek has been an amazing partner, teammate and has also been an advocate helping to push Wipro teams to use the Topcoder Community. bp has grown quickly at Topcoder in the past year and this would not be possible due to the trust and confidence of a partner like Vivek.

Program of the Year

Think “Album of the Year” – the best team and program being executed at scale with an enterprise customer.

Telstra – Akshay Bennur, General Manager and Group Engineering Principal
Telstra as a telecom provider is in midst of its B2C and B2B digital transformation journey. During the past year, our partnership expanded to bring in niche skills and scale via the Topcoder community to drive speed-to-market objectives. Telstra’s teams are adopting a Crowd-first approach while executing work via a Sprint team model as well as Talent Model in areas of Technology, React, Salesforce, AWS, Data Engineering, Python, Selenium, Microservices, Node, DevOps, and more. Leaders like Akshay Bennur and Ankur Pathak are always open to innovations and trying new things.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!

Annika Nagy

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