New course at Ghent University: Sports Technology and Innovation

This new course is initially offered to students who are in the ‘Master of Science in Movement and Sports Sciences’ and is taught by Kristof De Mey, who also invites some guest speakers, entrepreneurs, innovation managers and field practitioners.

Position of the course

The aim of the course is to make students familiar with the various domains of sports technology and innovation. Students are learning the main trends in this sector and how these evolutions are leading to various products and services available in the market. In addition, students are taught how an innovation process is looking and which pitfalls and success factors it encounters. Different parts of the innovation process are practiced as group assignments based on real-life cases. As always within Ghent University, an important aspect of this course is also to critically reflect, in this case on the effectiveness of particular apps, platforms, wearables, etc. and how these could be improved in the future.

It’s important that students can learn while working on their own cases, around the sports science and technology topics they like, in the type of sports they prefer, etc. It just increases the motivation level and this might result in more tangible outcomes.

Other elements are the role of intra- and entrepreneurship and teamwork during the innovation process, building a critical thinking mindset and dealing with ethical-deontological issues.

Content of the course

A variety of topics are covered such as trends and available technologies in different market segments, innovation processes in general and finding problem-solution fit, product-market fit and go-to-market strategies in particular. Also, basic technological and field application knowhow on sensors and wearables, data analytics and exergaming are part of this course.

An introduction into the role of entrepreneurship and startups in the sports technology area is given as well. During the course, special attention will go out to critical thinking and ethical or deontological aspects on the use of technology in various sectors of sport (elite, youth, amateur, etc.).

Students like to be as practical as possible, often without having the broader context in mind. Within the course, there is room for both the theoretical as the practical side of things, while focusing on the process to go from idea to (conceptual) solution.

Based on the theoretical courses, a practical group assignment based on real-life cases is executed and students are coached throughout this period.

A few key learning objectives for the students

  • Being critical minded when evaluating various technologies in relation to their use in practice.
  • Knowing the major phases in the innovation process when going from idea to possible solution on the market.
  • Creating a stakeholder analysis and estimating the role each stakeholder could make.
  • Being able to identify challenges related to the contrasting needs and interests of different stakeholders.
  • Being able to define assumptions in the innovation process and validate them with facts.
  • Knowing and basically applying concepts as customer segments, personas and customer journeys.
  • Being able to compare technologies on the basis of various parameters.
  • Know what a business model and go-to-market strategy is in the context of sports technology innovation.

Are you also interested in specific topics of this course? You can always ask Kristof for some advice here

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