FIRST® LEGO® League staff often get asked for guidance on teams’ Innovation Project ideas.  Some common questions include:

  • Can you approve our Project topic or problem?
  • Does our solution fit within the guidelines for the Project?
  • Is this the best Project for our team?

It’s not possible for us to answer these questions conclusively – it’s actually our policy not to give an official “yes” or “no” ruling on individual Innovation Project topics.  This would involve us evaluating thousands of teams’ choices without full knowledge of their Projects and their ultimate direction.

Instead, we encourage teams to read the Challenge materials carefully, including the Challenge, the Team Meeting Guide and the Engineering Notebook (hard copy materials teams receive with registration), and Challenge Updates as they are posted.  We also urge teams to thoroughly review the Project Rubric, and make it very clear to event judges exactly how their Project satisfied the guidelines for the season’s Challenge.

The CITY SHAPERSM Challenge outlines the Innovation Project problem statement as follows:

In the Innovation Project, your team will:

  • Identify a problem with a building or public space in your community.
  • Design a solution.
  • Share your solution with others and then refine it.

In the Engineering Notebook, Team Meeting Guide and our recent blog post, a building is described as “a human-made assembly with a roof and walls intended as a place for people to live, work or play,” and a public space is defined as “an area or place that is open and accessible to all people. This include plazas, squares and parks, and connecting spaces like sidewalks and streets”.

Moreover, the CITY SHAPER Robot Game missions and kickoff video may give your team ideas for Innovation Project topics.  Also, we do not have limits as to how you define “your community.”  Please see Innovation Project Update IP01:


For this year’s project, your team is free to define “your community” in the way that works best for you.

This means your team could look at a problem in your local town or city, your country, or even in another part of the world.

All of this taken together does give your team some latitude to explore a wide range of topics related to architecture, city planning and civil engineering. However, it does not mean you should do your CITY SHAPER Project on just anything.  If you choose a topic that doesn’t appear to be directly related to a problem with a building or public space, then we highly recommend that you clearly explain to judges how your problem and solution align with the Innovation Project requirements.  It’s really up to your team to make the case for your project in the judging room during your 5-minute Project session.

One last thing to keep in mind about your Project… we truly feel that the best Innovation Projects are the ones that inspire teams to discover, innovate and have an impact in their community.  While we want everyone to have a great experience at their events, we are also thrilled when we hear about teams who continue to work on their projects long after events.  When teams become personally invested in their ideas and initiatives, and remain committed to seeing them through, we all succeed and our community flourishes and becomes stronger.

Additional Resources for Your Project Presentation: