Creative thinking applied to sports

Are you eager to know how we combined sport, innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit, all in one event?

Well, on April 24th, 2015, the first “Sports ID Marathon” was organized at Ghent University. The initiative was taken by Victoris in collaboration with ‘Student Ghentrepreneur‘, the Ghent program for student entrepreneurship.

The goal was clear: tackling challenges from the sports and rehab sector by bringing together people from different backgrounds in order to create new concepts for products and services that do not yet exist.

Ghent University offered their Sportsbar to host this event, which was the ideal place for this first edition. The meeting areas were used for the opening and closing ceremony, while for brainstorming sessions, the other facilities were transformed into a place where creativity and entrepreneurship could flourish as never before.

On Friday evening, the event was kicked off with an opening ceremony. Kristof De Mey explained what motivated him to organize this event. The key component: linking people, sharing ideas & creating possibilities for the future. He also gave an introduction into the creative thinking process including ‘the rules of the game of brainstorming’. The challenges (originally 9, downsized by 7) were pitched and the teams were formed. Coaches introduced themselves, and everybody was ready for a great start. Saar Van Lysebetten presented the “” results, since the psychological profile concerning creativity and innovation aspects was assessed by this “CREAX” and Ghent University spin-off (Department of Personnel management, work and organizational psychology).

Before starting the brainstorming sessions, a dinner and networking moment was offered, where people connected and started sharing ideas. “Green Cola”, a Greek company, offered a fresh drink for everybody at the outdoor terrace.
The rest of the evening was filled with focusing on the brainstorming question and accompanied idea generation.

The second day started with an early-morning run for the fans (guided by Tim De Vilder of “Peak Level” and Tomas Valcke of “De Loopcoach”) followed by a healthy breakfast. People also got the possibility to swim at the universities’ inside swimming pool.
During the first part of the day, teams continued with idea generation and initial selection of ideas. At lunch time, DJ M Sweet provided some nice beats and people started to dance!

Loaded with lots of energy, people got back into their teams and continued to develop, pivot and decide on what they were going to pitch at the end. During the day, there was even enough time left to practice some sports. “Bumbervoetbal” and “You-fo” were the new and cool ones to play! For some lucky people, a massage session was performed by “Just Touch”.

At 16h30 pm, it was time for the teams to finish their projects, present and let the jury deliberate on them. People took place in the meeting area and waited impatiently for the results. Thanks to the high variety of participant backgrounds, teams got a lot of various inputs that resulted in original concepts that were then reviewed by the jury.

After 15 minutes of deliberation, the jury selected their top 3 based on 5 criteria: 1/ is it realistic?, 2/ is it innovative?, 3/ what´s the societal value?, 4/ what´s the economic value?, 5/ is it scalable? The third place was won by the team of Peak Level, who came up with the idea of a quality label for sport and healthy lifestyle interventions in the workplace. The team received a You-fo from Bas Ruyssenaars, a Dutch entrepreneur that invented this new sport. Each member also received a ticket for a free climbing session at the new “Biover Bleau Climbing Hall”.

The second place was won by the team of Geert De Wael that tackled the “UPLACE-BMC Pro Triathlon Team”´s challenge. In order to become able to follow their triathletes, their concept was based on creating a dashboard for video (bike camera´s, 360° video, drones, etc.) and meta data (position, speed, hearth rate, temperature, etc.). They received a place at the attractive “Like Birds” co-working office in Ghent and a fitness package at “Venice Beach”, the new fitness centre located within the Ghelamco Arena.

Finally, the winner of the first Sports ID marathon event was … the team of Koen Vercauteren with ‘Direction’, a new agility training product that combines sensors, with led lightening and a digital platform for game playing and data collection. Koen shortly started up his company called ‘”LedsReact”. Direction is his first product. The team received a 1-minute animated video that will be made by the successful start-up “Story Me”, worth 5.000 euro. The team also received a 25 euro discount each at the new Decathlon store in the city. Koen ended his speech with promoting to take people with autism within your company. For this, he received the audience award, a bucket of local food and drinks, provided by “Stad Gent“.

The event was closed with a reception. The organization would love to thank everyone who contributed to this wonderful first edition. Special thanks goes to the participants, challengers, coaches and jury members! Special thanks is also given to the sponsors who provided various products and services.

Based on the evaluation forms, attendees gave the Sports ID Marathon a 8/10 overall score. The event was amusing, innovative, inspiring and most of all…it left us eager for more, so we hope to see you at our second event soon! Would you be able to win it then? Suggest your challenge now!

brainstorming, entrepreneurship, innovation, Sports ID marathon

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