TCO Structure Idea Generation Challenge

Key Information

The challenge is finished.
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Challenge Overview

Challenge Objectives

Challenge Background

​ This is an ideation challenge, where the goal is to generate ideas - and NOT software, designs, algorithms etc like in usual Topcoder challenges.

​ In this challenge, contestants are invited to pitch their ideas on what an ideal Topcoder Open, along with all of its year-long qualification stages should look like.

​ For people unfamiliar with Topcoder Open (TCO) as it is right now, here are some resources:

Project Background

Topcoder is internally running a massive program to re-imagine Topcoder Open from scratch. In simple terms, Topcoder is looking to come up with ideas of what future Topcoder Opens (TCOs) would look like, including the qualification stages, viewer involvement etc.

​ Within this overall goal, via this particular challenge, Topcoder is looking for well-formed ideas about all aspects of a re-imagined Topcoder Open. As in, Topcoder is open to seeing plans related to entirely new TCO formats, where several aspects of the event have been re-imagined. ​

In addition to re-imagining TCO, we are also exploring how we can incorporate modern aspects of competition events, such as making an attempt to make TCO somewhat similar to modern-day E-Sports.

​ At a high level, the primary requirements are that the re-imagined TCO should be:

  • Competitive
  • Fun
  • Fair
  • Feasible
  • Modern (e.g. embodying aspects of E-Sports) ​

Goals of Topcoder Open:

While thinking about new ideas, it is important to keep in mind the overall goals of hosting Topcoder Open. These are pretty important goals, so kindly take them into active consideration while ideating:

  • Increase overall engagement at Topcoder.
  • Reward our top competitors with additional incentives, benefits, etc.
  • Get our community members together to help cultivate our community feel between members, staff, and customers. ​ ​

Challenge Details

​ As discussed above, Topcoder is looking to re-imagine how future Topcoder Opens would look like, and through this challenge contestants can pitch their ideas and help shape the future of TCO. ​ Although the ideas can be about any set of TCO aspects, they are generally expected to include plans about the following:

  1. Qualification Process: This is one of the most important parts of the overall TCO plan, and hence careful consideration should be made about how qualifications would work. Details such as qualification point structure, number of stages, number of finalists etc should be included.
  2. Qualification Round Details: Apart from the overall qualification plan, an ideal ideation submission would include details about how each round's competition would work. Should there be four rounds like it is currently, or maybe just two (one for every 2 quarters) or a totally different round system altogether. Can there be hybrid rounds? As in a part of the round online, and the remaining round offline.
  3. Tracks: Which tracks should exist in future Topcoder Opens? Currently we have finals for tracks such as Development, First2Finish, QA, Marathon matches etc. Can we have a different set of tracks in the future? Maybe a separate track for certain technologies, like JavaScript? Maybe a separate Machine Learning track? Feel free to suggest ideas of what a well-rounded set of tracks should look like at future Topcoder Opens.
  4. Finals: The actual finals, as in the competitions that finally happen after all the qualification stages are complete is one of the most important aspects of Topcoder Open. So the ideas should include details about how the competitions would be structured for the finals.
  5. Viewer Engagement - Non finalist Topcoder members: At the onsite events there are usually several Topcoder members at the venue who are not participating in a particular track's final. E.g. a finalist from First2Finish track could be present at the onsite finals venue just to be a spectator. Can we have any ideas to better engage them? Can they be allowed to potentially participate in the contests (without the oppurtunity to win prizes)? Similarly, other Topcoder members who might be watching the live-stream online can also potentially be better engaged.
  6. Viewer Engagement - General audience: In addition to Topcoder members, there are also several individuals present at Topcoder Opens, such as general Topcoder staff, family members of finalists/trip winners, sponsor representatives etc. Ideas are invited on how to best engage them? Should there be commentary going on (like the way it is right now) to better explain the ongoing contests to the general audience. Or can they be engaged better through some other innovative means(e.g. similar to maybe sports-betting apps?)
  7. Take into account both online or onsite scenario: Although not mandatory, ideally the ideas should take into account for the possibility of future Topcoder Opens being organized online for any reason (like they have been for TCO20 and TCO21).

Additional information to take into consideration

  1. Platform feasibility considerations are not important: Contestants need not worry about platform feasibility, as in, even if their ideas can be executed on the current Topcoder platform, if the ideas are compelling enough, the requisite platforms will be developed in the future to support it.
  2. No limit on Budget, but the plans should be realistic: Topcoder has opted to not limit the creativity of this ideation challenge by placing budgetary constraints at this stage. So as long as the ideas aren't too unreasonable in terms of resources requirements, the contestants need not assume any rigid budgetary constraints.
  3. Specific city Details are not required: Although contestants are free to comment on these topics, suggestions about specific cities as venues etc are not required. The ideas should generally revolve around the the actual competition and its format and engagement of various parties
  4. Feasibility: While we encourage creativity at this stage, the ideation should be such that the plans should be realistic and feasible - as in the idea should be such that it can be implemented in real life.
  5. This is for all future TCOs, not just the next one: The ideas that we generate in our TCO re-imagination efforts will take time to implement, so contestants need not worry that we don’t have time remaining for their ideas to be implemented for TCO22. These ideas are for the long term format, starting at the earliest by TCO23.
  6. Multiple ideas are acceptable: - But ideas should not be mixed. If multiple ideas are being submitted, separate folders should be created for each idea, within the submission root folder.
  7. Submitter identity should NOT be disclosed: The contestants are required to NOT disclose their identities inside their submission folders. This will ensure that all submissions are evaluated without bias and solely on the idea's merit and the presentation (to some extent).

Review Criteria

The review will be performed using a subjective scorecard, wherein the reviewers will decide the rankings of the submission based on the overall quality of the pitch. ​ But generally the review criteria will revolve around:

  • Creativity
  • Feasibility
  • Comprehensiveness
  • Fairness of overall contest structure
  • Fun element of the proposed plan
  • Formatting of overall submission (basically the submission and documents should not be difficult to go through and comprehend). ​

Additional Prizes

In addition to the cash prizes mentioned, the team might decide to give out additional prizes in the form of Topcoder T-shirts or TCO regional passes/invitations. This will be given on the sole discretion of the reviewers and other stakeholders, and there is no criteria per-se to qualify of these additional prizes.

What To Submit

  • Ideation Document - A document containing your overall pitch. A well-formatted document (such as a PDF file) containing the ideas would suffice. ​
  • Charts/Drawings - Any visual aid to better understand the ideas in the pitch. These images can be included inside the ideation document as well.

  • Video/Audio (Optional) - Any additional form of media, such as videos or audios can be included. If the media is larger than 10MB, it is generally best to upload it as an unlisted Video on Youtube and the link should be shared via the submission


Final Review:

Community Review Board


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