The first Erasmus+ project CHANGE online seminar was held on 22 February 2023. The seminar was one of the many educational activities planned within the framework of this project.
The activities are planned on educating the relevant stakeholders and interested public on topics related to the project: inclusion, engagement, sustainability and digitalization. The team will not reinvent the wheel but has a clear goal to collect the existing good practices, effective tools and resources that federations and clubs can use to improve their management and functioning.
The title and the aim of this first online seminar was to start a conversation on “Building the data ecosystems around grassroots sports”. Data is in fact increasingly becoming a core asset for all organisations. In this session, the CHANGE project tried to dice into the world of data for grassroots sports organisations to ensure that they are equipped to manage their own data ecosystems.
Organised by ENGSO, the seminar was hosted by N3xt Sports and moderated by Hisham Shehabi, former Olympics athlete with 15 years of experience in an array of industries including sports administration and technology.
After a presentation of the project, aim, objectives and next activities, by ENGSO project manager Lovisa Broms, the guest speaker and the expert in the meeting was introduced: Tina Ammitzbøll. Tina is a former player in the Danish Water Polo National Team, Digital Strategy Consultant at the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark (DIF), and manager of large digital platform projects and data analyst in e-commerce solutions to UX designers.
The conversation started with trying to answer the question “why is data an important strategic topic nowadays?”, in DIF and other federations.
The main aim for a correct and proficient use of data resulted in giving better experience to the people in Denmark involved in sport. Being it used for professional athletes for a long time, with the main aim to monitor performances, it is now moving to the monitoring of kids’ sport activities and who practises sport in their spare time.
Data can be a support tool to monitor members of sport organisations: how can they be attracted to sport? How good are sport clubs and organisations at keeping members? And then elaborate strategies on the answers collected. Data can help create a better experience for the athletes and support the process of improvement of sports clubs and federations.
Digitalization is so fundamental in this sense, moreover because Covid19 has been a catalyst for it, and it’s become a relevant and urgent question for sports clubs.
To make an example, “how DIF started to organise itself in this sense?”.
Being an umbrella organisation, many affiliates under DIF started looking at each other to understand what to do and how to be more digital. It was and it is crucial the cooperation of the organisations in this project of creating a unique Sport ID for everyone involved in sports, as soon as the person becomes a member of a sport club. The Sport ID is meant to follow the athletes for their life, geographically and in terms of age, collecting all the info on every sport practised and offering this way support in choosing the best sportive option.
In DIF, this is still a long journey, supported by volunteers in training. The main challenge faced right now is the one related to the storage of a big quantity of data, but in different forms and places, to be crossed and put in a common space to make them function coherently.
By collecting this big quantity of data, and leaving digital breadcrumbs of our passage online, it was a natural passage in the program to interrogate ourselves on privacy and ownership. Data have in fact a big value and can be used improperly. Tina highlighted the importance given to the topic in DIF and talked about the strategy the organisation is following, by taking inspiration from a few projects at European level, looking to build platforms that can combine data from different organisations, but allowing the user to only access their own.
Last point on the agenda meant to clarify how youth can be attracted by sport clubs and organisations, digitally speaking.
It was recognized as easier to work with kids in this sense, because of the communication intermediated by their parents, but it’s instead important and more difficult to be aware of how to communicate with the youth. How do they communicate on digital platforms? What it’s expected of them from a sports club in terms of digital tools? Using the right channels and contents is fundamental, creating a digital atmosphere they want to be part of. Data can help a lot in this sense.
The online seminar will be soon available on CHANGE website, such as a calendar of the following events to be followed online and in presence in the different countries involved in the project.
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