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Innovation seems to be everywhere and for everyone – including sport and physical activity promoters

The MOVE Congress masterclasses on Friday morning, 19 November, started with an extremely innovative session (wordplay intended) called ‘Mastering the culture of innovation in sport and physical activity’. We heard from some fresh thinkers in the field of recreational sport and physical activity talk about the necessary steps needed for the innovation process to be successful, or, rather, valuable.

“The way we are watching, practicing and consuming sports has completely changed. Try to address these changes and remain relevant,” Jean-Baptiste Alliot from Paris&Co Director of the Sport and Health Hub.

Jean-Baptiste continued by explaining what innovation stands for and that it is the way we catch trends, how we anticipate the future and operate with agility to remain relevant.

The notion that, as everybody and everything has to develop and innovate, relying on the glory is simply not enough. He pointed out the steps needed to start with innovation should start with a strategy, continue with a necessary audit and move onto a game plan that includes resources and a long-term vision.

“Idea incubation does not start with ideation.”
We should rather focus on problem identification and start building solutions to existing problems, otherwise we are dealing with design and not innovation, Jean-Baptiste added.

“Value needs to be at the core of what you call innovation,” he said, finishing with a strong sentiment: “You need to use the digital to bring people back into the physical!”

Maxime Leblanc, from the French Ministry of Sport, who was the session moderator, built upon the presented ideas and says that “Innovation seems to be everywhere and for everyone!” It is more present and accessible now than ever before.

After the presentation from Jean-Baptiste Alliot, we heard some brilliant remarks on the topic from leading experts in the discussion panel.

Bruno D’Hulster, SportaMundi, said at the discussion, “you have to transfer the idea to a usable product or technology”, highlighting the importance of idea implementation and the effectiveness of the implemented innovation.

“The three key elements of innovation are the novelty of it, the barrier overcoming element and the value added at the community level,” said panellist Teodora Pletosu from KEA European Affairs, explaining what makes innovation what it is. She also put an accent on looking at innovation from many perspectives to try and find its socioeconomic context.

“It’s supposed to be quite uncomfortable to get radical solutions”

Fiona Chambers from the University College Cork, Ireland, guided the second part of the masterclass together with her colleague Briony Supple and delivered an interactive session showing the participants how to put design thinking in practice.

They oriented their workshop around problem thinking and observation, agreeing with the statements of Jean-Baptiste. Design work is based around empathy, they said, and the focus is on the people we are serving with the innovative solutions.

“It can be about anything, products, services, processes, your life etc.” Participants were presented with different challenges, different personas and the methodology to tackle those problems through design thinking. “Innovation and design thinking is a super power.”

It was a truly impressive mix of presenting, discussing and practical work in the field of sport innovation. The ‘Mastering the culture of innovation in sport and physical activity’ masterclass was coordinated by ISCA Development Officer Laura-Maria Tiidla.

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