From the 25th to the 28th of March, European experts from the field of sport analyzed the keys for the future of sport.
INNO4SPORTS project is a European project whose objective is to share the experiences of different European regions with different levels of development and experience in sport. The ultimate goal is to improve the functioning and efficiency of regional development programs that can help deploy the innovative potential of sport.
Valencian region is represented by the IVACE and the IBV. The project started in June 2018 and last March it held its first knowledge exchange event in Valencia.
"The strategy of smart specialization of the Valencian Community focuses on the quality of life of people. Obviously, sport and physical activity are fundamental elements for the quality of life and thus, should be reflected in the strategic vision of the future, "reflects Paco Ferrando, Head of Unit of the European Programs Service of IVACE.
The Valencia meeting was a great success thanks to the participation of the European partners of Inno4Sports and regional and state stakeholders.
Almost 40 participants, 20 papers, 7 debates and visits to more than 10 sports facilities in Valencia are just some numbers of the Valencia meeting.
"Valencia is nowadays a benchmark for innovation in sports because of its capacity to generate socio-economic development in sectors such as tourism and health", says Enrique Alcantara, Director of Innovation in Sports at the IBV.
The works opened with a session around sports innovation ecosystems based in smart place, with the participation of Paco Ferrando (IVACE responsible of international projects), Javier Sánchez (IBV director), Esther Valero (Nautical and sports tourism executive Valencia. Region Tourism Board) and Rosana Peiró (DG of Public Health of the regional government)
The main ideas emerged have been:
♦ Crossovers between sports, health and tourism have a tremendous potential for innovation and socioeconomic development at first and second level interactions.
♦ Unlocking the innovation potential of Sports recipee is still a challenge.
♦Tourism and sports present four main pillars for development: sports tourism (stays for trainig), sports as part of the stay (recreational sports- active stay), sports events and autoctonous sports.
♦ Sports innovation ecosystems need to be cross sectorail and 4druple helix.
♦ Political stability and coordination is fundamental for sports.
During the aftrnoon the group moved to the Petxina cComplex, wher Ecosystems of Sport in Smart Cities were presented by Enrique Orts (head of service of sports facilities of Valencia), Rene Wijlens (executive manager of S&T, Eindhoven), Heikki Hannola (principal lecturer from Lapland University of Applied Sciences) and Maciej Riemer (PM of the Horticultural EXPO Lodz 2024)
The main ideas extracted from this session are:
♦ Open and flexible spaces allow for people practising new sports and activities help the “sports” sector keep updated with new trends.
♦ Theere seems to be a lifecycle/ process for these spaces from an urban space to be transformed to a Smart living lab.
♦ There is a challenge to develop a succesful and sustainable business model for these type of places.
♦ Data gathered can be useful for public authorities and this could be a good way to achive sustainability.
Later on, there was an active sessions cycling the old river bed in Valencia where there are many sports facilities as well as lot of people practising a variety of sports and physical ativities.
The session that opened day 2 was around cross-over opportunities of sports to create sinergies and applications in other sectors such as health, tourism, urban planning. The main idea is that sports can actuate as a creator of value and accelerator of knowledge and technology for sectors like health care, tourism, urban planning, etc.
The session included presentations from Jose Luis Herreros (President of COLEFCV), Rene Wiljens and Marc Van der Zande (S&T), Eila Linna (Lapland University of Applied Sciences) and Tamás Dekán (Debrecen Sports Centrum)
The conclusions from this session are:
♦ Sports offers a terrific potential to impulse and accelerate innovation and socioeconomical development in many other sectors such as health promotion, tourism, urban development, medicine, sportstainment, culture...
♦ Going from prescribing HEPA to inactive people to prescribing HEPA to patients groups is a big challenge
♦ Political coordination and fine tunning among stakeholders interest is a challenge.
♦ Data emerges as the next “raw” material for spors innovation croosover ecosystems.
♦ Making social benefits visible remains a challenge.
In the afternoon An active session (Day 2, afternoon) on sports innovation ecosystems around private initiative. There was a visit to L’Alqueria del basket, flagship of Juan Roig’s sports sponsorship programme.
Thus, the main idea of this sessions is:
♦Authorities should attemtp to promote private sponsorship in sports.
Finally, on day 3 there was a session around how clusters are the basis for sports innovation ecosystems. There were talks from a crossectorial clúster by Pedro Fernández (President of CVIDA), from the political side with a talk by Emma Vendrell (Head of International projects. ACCIÓ. Cataluña) (Catalonia), from a “technology” based cluster by Ramiro Torres (GSIC) and from clusters in the project: Rene Wijlens (SPORTS & TECHNOLOGY CLUSTER. General Manager, Piotr Wiackiewicz (SPORTS INDUSTRY CLUSTER IN LODZ. VERDE) and Tamás Dekán (MSE HUNGARIAN SPORTS AND LIFESTYLE DEVELOPMENT CLUSTER).
As a brief resume:
♦ Sports Clusters tend to evolve to 4druple helix ecosystems to become sustainable.
♦ Cross-sectorial clusters emerge as a future concept for clusters
♦ Target users involvement is fundamental to identify innovation opportunities
♦ Private initiative is fundamental for clusters success
♦ Connecting people, problems and solutions, market opportunities and companies... are key activities of clusters
Finally, there was an active session on the potential role of universities and urban facilities by visiting the sports facilities of the Universitat Politècnica de València and the runnig path in Avenida del Taronjers
The main conclusions are:
♦ Universities are a good candidate for an smart place offering data and smart facilities to the R&D&I activities.
♦ Sports is a good asset to make the university attractive to students.
♦ Sports potential should consider when planning urban development.
The event in Valencia was strongly useful to explore and elaborate on existing innovation ecosystem models, and link tools and instruments, such as Living Labs, Open Labs for e.g. technologies to address specific needs of the Sports Clusters.
“There a lot to be done, but first steps of Inno4Sports were made in the right way” states Giuseppe Caprara, Innovation manager at IBV.
Next event will be in Eindhoven, in June (from 11th to 13th) around improving cross-sectoral cooperation in order to build cross-overs, especially with High-Tech and Health sectors to increase the economic performance and regional impact of clusters. Also, the partners want to discuss on the give and take opportunities as defined in Valencia wuth the objective to make a start with the Action plan for each region.
In June Inno4Sports will also complete its first year of activity, and there will be two more left.
“The relevance of sports and physical activity as drivers of health, social cohesion, education in values, R&D, innovation, economic development and employement creation is beyond any discussion. We akcnowledge that Investing and promoting sports innovation will result in more modern, healthier and active societies”, concludes Alcantara.