It's been a few months since myself, along with two other GovTech colleagues, competed in the 2022 Data Arcade Tournament organised by GovTech's Data Science and AI Division (DSAID).
I must admit that I was initially apprehensive about participating in the data tournament.
This was my first time competing, so I wasn't sure how I would fare against the other participants.
One of the things that made me feel a little more comfortable was the fact that I wasn't going it alone.
My coworker, who had participated in the competition for the previous two years, encouraged me to give it a shot.
He shared with me all of the valuable lessons he had learned and how much he had enjoyed the experience (not forgetting the free SWAG).
We collaborated with a UX designer who, like myself, had no prior experience with data competitions.
We dubbed our team "Astro-Knots", a word play on our space narrative and the theme of this year's tournament ("Twist and Turn").
We all believed that by banding together, our chances of success would increase, and we were correct!
We were able to bounce ideas off each other and support one another when we ran into difficulties.
Having such support was wonderful, and I believe it really contributed to our success.
After an intense ten weeks, our team emerged as the first runner-up during the first round of judging.
While we didn’t move on to the semifinals, the journey towards that goal is just as important.
I took some time to digest and reflect on the experience and consider how I might put to use what I've learned to my real profession.
In many ways, communication within a team is similar to communication in a personal relationship.
It helps to resolve disputes and clear up misunderstandings while building trust and understanding.
Effective communication not only allows for the exchange of ideas and insights within a team, but it also guarantees that everyone is on the same page.
One of the things we did was check in once a week to talk about our progress and provide any development updates.
Additionally, we made sure that all communication takes place over Zoom or in-person meetups.
To avoid the "broken telephone syndrome", text messaging platforms were exclusively used to update everyone on new developments.
This was crucial since it allowed us to stay connected and collaborate more effectively.
Over time, we came to understand the benefits of this approach.
There were fewer misunderstandings, which produced outcomes that were more efficient and effective.
One of the key elements for our success is collaboration, and it's something that I learned the value of during the tournament.
It was imperative that we work together in order to bring different strengths and perspectives to the table.
Through effective collaboration, we were able to brainstorm ideas together and come up with innovative solutions to the problems we were facing.
The learning was that we were able to build off each other's ideas and produce something that was more powerful than what any of us could have come up with on our own.
While the innovativeness of the creative process is good, but so is the quality of execution.
It turns out that getting everyone to work together toward the same objective and making sure that all tasks are accomplished effectively is a tremendous challenge.
There were more moving pieces than anticipated, including ideation, research, refinement, prototyping, and testing.
We also had to take into account our limited resources, which might have an impact on the process.
With these constraints in mind, we made sure to give each person tasks that fit their strengths and areas of expertise.
This maximised our time and made us more productive.
Last but not least, it's important to cooperate with each other when working towards a common objective.
We were able to come up with the best possible solution for each task just by cooperating and sharing our knowledge and expertise with one another.
Everyone was so eager to pitch in and help out wherever we could, which made the entire process so much more rewarding.
Overall, taking part in the Data Arcade Tournament was a terrific learning experience.
I believe I have gained many valuable skills and knowledge from this experience.
If there's one thing I really got out of this event, it's that DATA is a team sport.
Working with data is often a complex and complicated task that can't be done well in isolation.
It is crucial to be able to communicate your thoughts and insights to your team in a clear and effective manner so that everyone is on the same page.
It is crucial to collaborate and share information and resources.
It is crucial to have a team of people with diverse skills and expertise working together toward a common goal, since each team member brings their own unique perspective and abilities to the table.
It is crucial to keep in mind that cooperation and teamwork are essential for success, whether you're working on a data project at work, competing in a data competition, or simply investigating data on your own.
Communication, Collaboration, Coordination, and Cooperation.
With all these in mind, you could achieve much better results than you could on your own!