Meet The Makers: The International BitOlympics Committee

By admin

As we enter the first-ever BitOlympics, we sat down with the community members who formed our first International Bits Committee and asked them three questions about their experience creating the official design challenges.

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What was the hardest part about putting together a design challenge and what did you learn from the process?

Maria Renard (Santiago, Chile): The hardest part for the team was coming up with an open-ended challenge, rather than one with a specific outcome. That process required a whole new cognitive disposition.


Joey Wilson (Santa Fe, New Mexico): The tricky part I think is striking that balance between an appropriate level of difficulty (it is a design challenge after all) while hopefully providing for a broad range of creative interpretations. The focus of our challenge is in musically synchronizing the movement of bits in an artful way. Synchronizing bits to music is a technical challenge for sure. Doing so artfully requires a little something more…

I was moved while watching some of the examples of world class synchronized gymnastics. I’m hoping our BitOlympic submissions can evoke some similar emotions.


Caroline Thordenberg (Stockholm, Sweden): The hardest part was first to not get carried away with all the project ideas coming to mind! The second challenge was to formulate something that puts you in the sweet spot between creativity by boundaries, and an openness that allows for each and everyone to create wild and imaginative ideas! When you set out to create a design challenge, you can start in either end and just work towards the middle, this is definitely a learning of the process!


David Saunders (Greenwich, Connecticut): In my experience, the most difficult part of organizing a design challenge is the challenge itself. Developing a clear framework that encourages imagination, creative problem solving, and collaboration without micromanaging the process with too many requirements or instructions can be difficult. I’ve learned that organizing a successful event takes time and thoughtful reflection on its purpose. That said, a healthy side of spontaneity and flexible thinking is necessary for when things don’t go according to plan. So be diligent, plan ahead, and be prepared to adjust on the fly!


Pete Hill (Chicago, Illinois): Describing the challenge or goal in such a way that it inspires solutions, but does not squash creativity.



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What aspect of the BitOlympics do you look forward to the most? What are excited about?

Maria: We’re very excited to see how much fun this group of kids will have, while discovering the littleBits world for the first time. We can’t wait to be surprised to see how they will surprise us with a wide spectrum of playful solutions to the challenges related to football and field hockey!


Joey: I think it is nearly impossible to work on a design challenge like this without imagining how I might approach the problem myself. I’ve imagined a few different approaches to this particular challenge and I think it will be fun seeing what other people come up with.  I also hope to see a wide variety of entries and perhaps music from around the world.


Caroline: I’m super excited about seeing what the global community will be creating! I think the littleBits community will be creating sports 2.0 – a glimpse into the future of Internet of Things for sports, fuelled with creativity and with absolutely no limits!


David: I am really looking forward to seeing how participants approach each of the different Olympic sports. What new perspectives will be brought to the table? What assumptions will be overturned or exposed? Where will our new thinking take us next? I find these events are often the first step in uncovering new ideas that can be explored and developed in the weeks and months after it ends.


Pete: Coaching all the players toward understanding the goal and seeing their effort to achieve the goal. Watching a breakout performance from a young player with creative solutions.






We all know about the Olympics spirit: The national pride, the international community, the guts & glory. How would you describe the BitOlympic spirit?

Maria: For us, the BitOlympics connects us with our primitive senses: survival, brave-heartedness and team work.


Joey: The littleBits community has always been a pretty geographically diverse group bound together simply by their common interest in learning, making and sharing.  It’s been incredibly fulfilling for me to participate with these folks as we learn together.  My father once told me that the origin of the word “compete” came from the Latin word “competere” which meant simply “to strive together.

I think this original definition nicely captures the most important essence of the BitOlympic spirit. We go farther and faster together then we ever would on our own.


Caroline: To me it is all about creativity, exploring and creating things together! I also love that the bitOlympics is not really about countries competing but ideas. Together we can invent anything.


David: BitOlympic spirit is characterized by ingenuity, connectedness, imagination, and playful curiosity.


Pete: With sports, one dreams of being the best, the fastest, the best effort to win; with BitOlympics its the dream of creation, being clever and having a winning design.




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