World Robot Olympiad: Coaching the innovators of tomorrow

The participants in the “Future Innovators” category with the jury. Alongside TÜV NORD‘s Saima Ansari (2nd from left with high-visibility jacket), members of the jury came from IBM, National Instruments and Intel.


In the context of the international robotics competition, the World Robot Olympiad (WRO), TÜV NORD has joined forces with SAP to initiate a new category entitled “Future Innovators”. This is a category in which young people develop their own robots along with specific business models. Innovation Manager Saima Ansari from the Industrial Services business unit was at the finals of the world championship as a juror and coach for the new pilot programme.

At the international robotics competition, the World Robot Olympiad (WRO), children and young people come together in teams with homemade robots to solve tasks or win football games. Depending on the category, the robots are built of plastic bricks, computer components and other materials. The WRO takes place in some 65 countries, and over 23,000 teams are involved. In 2017, the principal focus was on sustainability. 

The finals of the World Robot Olympiad took place in Alajuela in Costa Rica.

Business models a must

“Future Innovators” is a pilot programme within the competition in which older young people develop business models for the deployment of their robots. To win, the teams have to convincingly demonstrate that their business model is particularly innovative or disruptive for existing or future markets, that the demand for their product or service is there, how production and marketing costs will be calculated, and much more besides. Coaches from the two project partners, TÜV NORD and SAP, supported the teams on their way to the final. Online coaching sessions were held in October to instruct and support the young people in the development of their business models. The final in Costa Rica kicked off with further live coaching events, followed by presentations and the verdicts of the jury. In the Future Innovators category, teams from China, Brazil, Syria, India, Greece, Germany and the Philippines went head to head.

A German team showed off a concept for battery changing in electric vehicles.

Social responsibility

“We supported the World Robot Olympiad as an expression of our social responsibility, to get young people excited about technology and the natural sciences and to promote the coming together of people across national frontiers. At the same time, we always look forward to the exchange of ideas with creative people and the decision-makers of tomorrow that also greatly enriches our own work. We also want to join in the conversation as an attractive employer,” says Carsten Becker, Director of Innovation in the Industrial Services business unit of the TÜV NORD GROUP.