Kids working on a STEM project

Innovation at FIRST®

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) has always been the catalyst for innovation that moves our world forward. As we imagine and discover future technologies and industries, we can prepare today’s youth to become the future leaders and innovators.  

During the 2020-2021 FIRST® GAME CHANGERSSM powered by Star Wars: Force for Change season, we are offering challenges for all FIRST programs that immerse students in hands-on innovation learning, providing all participants the opportunity to further develop their confidence and skills in observing problems and opportunities, business and marketing development, understanding and using research findings, efficient design, factors for implementation, strategic and design thinking, and the entrepreneurship and innovation process.

Advancing FIRST® LEGO® League, FIRST® Tech Challenge, and FIRST® Robotics Competition teams will showcase and celebrate their innovative solutions at the 2021 FIRST Global Innovation Awards powered by Star Wars: Force for Change held June 28-30 as a remote event in front of FIRST Strategic Partners and a global audience of peers and industry leaders.

Click on the + to see program offerings.

FIRST LEGO League – Innovation Project

As part of the FIRST LEGO League Challenge RePLAYSM season, teams participating in the Innovation Project will identify a problem related to people not being active enough, research the problem and design a new piece of technology or improve an existing one.

Students will collaborate on their ideas and must consider possible barriers to implementation, document the evaluation of their invention, and validate their design with professionals working in STEM.

Participating teams can learn about the  nomination process, the Global Innovation Award rubric, and Global Innovation Award guidelines here.

For questions about the FIRST LEGO League Innovation Project, email FIRST LEGO League.

FIRST Tech Challenge – Innovation Challenge presented by Qualcomm
FIRST Innovation Challenge logo

Through the FIRST Innovation Challenge presented by Qualcomm students in FIRST Tech Challenge will explore what it means to be an innovator and find solutions to society’s greatest challenges that impact the world for generations to come. 

The details and requirements of the FIRST Innovation Challenge will be announced during the FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff broadcast, January 9, 2021 on FIRST​tv.

On January 9, the Innovation Challenge details will be revealed with access given to the FIRST Innovation Challenge manual. The manual will include instructions on how to indicate a teams participation in the challenge, rubrics and guidelines, and important dates and details for submissions and remote judging.

Sign up for a Tune-in Reminder

Through the FIRST GAME CHANGERS themed challenge, participating teams will: 

  • Identify a problem or opportunity
  • Design a solution to seize the opportunity or solve the problem. 
  • Actualize their innovation by creating a business model and developing a business pitch.  
  • Advance their skills by using technology in their solution development process and/or design. 

Participating teams will also have exclusive access to the Innovation Challenge Content series featuring panels, Q&A sessions, and webinars featuring alumni and industry experts on such topics as:

  • Business model education
  • Intellectual property
  • Product development
  • Pitch and prototype advice
  • Entrepreneurship
  • And more

For additional Innovation Challenge details, visit Game & Season Materials page. For questions about the FIRST Innovation Challenge presented by Qualcomm, email FIRST Tech Challenge.

FIRST Robotics Competition – Innovation Challenge presented by Qualcomm
FIRST Innovation Challenge logo

Through the FIRST Innovation Challenge presented by Qualcomm students in FIRST Robotics Competition will explore what it means to be an innovator and find solutions to society’s greatest challenges that impact the world for generations to come. 

The details and requirements of the FIRST Innovation Challenge will be announced during the FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff broadcast, January 9, 2021, on FIRST​tv.

On January 9, the Innovation Challenge details will be revealed with access given to the FIRST Robotics Competition season manual. The manual will include instructions on how to indicate a teams' participation in the challenge, judging criteria, and important dates and details for submissions and remote judging.

Sign up for a Tune-in Reminder

Through the FIRST GAME CHANGERS themed challenge, participating teams will: 

  • Identify a problem or opportunity
  • Design a solution to seize the opportunity or solve the problem. 
  • Actualize their innovation by creating a business model and developing a business pitch.  
  • Advance their skills by using technology in their solution development process and/or design. 

Participating teams will also have access to the Innovation Challenge Content series featuring panels, Q&A sessions, and webinars featuring alumni and industry experts on such topics as:

  • Business model education
  • Intellectual property
  • Product development
  • Pitch and prototype advice
  • Entrepreneurship
  • And more

For additional Innovation Challenge details, visit Game & Season Materials page. For questions about the FIRST Innovation Challenge presented by Qualcomm, email FIRST Robotics Competition.

FIRST Global Innovation Awards powered by Star Wars: Force for Change
FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award logo

In 2021, the FIRST community will celebrate the next generation of innovators who will change the future during the FIRST Global Innovation Awards. The award is open to the participating FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge, and FIRST Robotics Competition teams in more than 100 countries.

Twenty finalist teams from each program will advance to showcase their research and inventions, and present to industry leaders at the FIRST Global Innovation Awards, June 28-30, 2021. Teams will participate in remote workshops designed to develop knowledge and skill sets, have individualized mentorship, and more. Within each program, top selected teams will receive exclusive prizing from sponsors. Awards will be announced live on FIRST​tv in front of a global audience of peers, sponsors, and industry leaders.

Patent Resources | Past Winners & Innovation Ambassadors

Check back soon for more details and how you can be part of the celebration.


For questions about the 2021 Global Innovation Awards powered by Star Wars: Force for Change, please email fllinnovationaward@firstinspires.org