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When all this is over we will all need to kickstart

Posted: Sun, 24 May 2020 11:52

When all this is over we will all need to kickstart

The coronavirus crisis has presented us with challenges and changes to all aspects of our lives and the way that our community sports bodies and providers operate and will be operating in the future.

A key question is how the new 'normal' going to look like and how you will respond.

Will the way that we enjoy sport and physical activity be changing and, if so how can we adapt to that? We are already experiencing many changes in people's behaviour in the way we exercise (or not) and we are also seeing many great examples of community spirit, some of them, but perhaps not enough, coming from community sport.

Many community sport and activity providers are in danger of not playing a big enough role in people's lives right now and are not at the front of people's minds. When all this is over and people's habits have changed those who were visible during the crisis will have a much bigger chance of regaining, or even improving, their reputation and standing in their communities. So what is your club, leisure centre or trust doing right now?

And how ready are you to adapt and change your offering, service and way of delivery? Do you really listen and learn?

At Sports Marketing Network since early April we have run 22 webinars around all this for more than 1000 community sports managers from 11 countries. To be honest we have seen many examples of brilliant engagement with members, partners and the wider community and the trend has been that this is often done by providers who were already doing good stuff.

We will have to accept that we are operating in a world of VUCA, which roughly translates into 'it's absolutely crazy out there!". V is for Volatility, about the speed of change. It is associated with fluctuations in demand, turbulence and short-time to the world around you. In short, high volatility means rapid change.

U is for Uncertainty which refers to the extent to which we can predict the future. C is for Complexity and relates to the number of factors we must take into account, their variety and the relationship between them. A is for Ambiguity is the lack of clarity in interpreting something. It is vagueness in ideas and technology.

'Don't let a good crisis go to waste' is a famous quote from President Obama's chief of staff. Now read this statement from Peter Miskimmin, the CEO of Sport New Zealand when they announced that $78m (30%) of the government's 4-year support package for sport would go to an element called Different and Better

"Because this is a once in 50-year opportunity, we have to make the most of this chance to reimagine how the sector might look in the future and what will best enable it to meet the needs of all New Zealanders, including those who are currently underrepresented. Part of this work will be exploring what that future might look like, and how we might use new technology and research to modernise the sector. It will also include a series of contestable funds to support new and innovative ways to create opportunities for New Zealanders to be active. Our sector won't maximise our future potential if we simply replay our current approach."

So, we have developed a programme called Project Kickstart where we work with providers of community sport and physical on how they can develop the culture, skills and way of working so they can benefit from, this crisis. This is certainly not about going back to the way things were to but about embracing new partnerships, digital communication, be about more than sport, and understand and adapt to people' new habits.

This also means that we need to welcome and encourage disruptive thinking and not always protect the old. Some traditions are no longer relevant, sorry.

Part of the Project Kickstart focuses on how to adopt a disruptor mindset – managing risk and opportunities without losing focus

'Old thinking' focuses on maintaining the status quo and cherishes 'the way we do things around here', whereas 'young thinking' focuses on how to disrupt the existing set-up. We will work with you to encourage disruption within your organisation and how to work with external disruptors.

We also look at embracing and embedding new technology to grow your reach. The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the growth in the use of social media and digital technology. So, every sports body and provider must now take a serious and innovative look at how they can further benefit from being more enterprising in the way they use technology to engage.

How to be a force for good - focus on sustainability and social impact. Here at Sports Marketing Network, we are working on a concept we call Green Sport, which covers the issue around how community sport can become climate-friendly and play our role in reducing CO2 emissions. This is no longer just a 'good' thing to do, it is becoming a 'must' thing, and now is the time to take a serious look at that.

Adopting purposeful and ethical practices that will enhance your value. Organisations are increasingly being asked "What is your purpose?" and that for sports bodies that has to be more than just getting people active, for you to have a real impact.

That involves behaving ethically and being transparent and honest and we all know the reputational damage sports bodies can suffer if that is not the case.

If you want to learn more about Project Kickstart, have a look at the attached, click here or more get in touch with Svend Elkjaer at svend@smnuk.com

Tags: Featured, Policy, Sport, community sport

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