The Innovation in Action and Reimagine Football ventures are exploring new ways to take the sport forward in the fields of fan engagement and carbon footprint reductions.
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The UEFA Innovation Hub is aiming to facilitate tangible progression in women's football and reduce the sport's overall carbon footprint with its involvement in two exciting initiatives.
Women’s football and fan engagement
Last week saw the conclusion of the Innovation in Action programme, an immersive six-week course run by the international Institute for Management Development (IMD) in partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and UEFA. Out of the 30 participants hailing from various innovative companies such as the IOC, Lego and members of the pharmaceutical industry just to name a few, six represented UEFA, and they took the lessons learnt into the final week to explore innovative ways to increase the appeal and fan engagement in women’s football.
The delegates then pitched their solutions to a jury at UEFA, with valuable input given on ideas such as app gamification elements, loyalty programmes and sustainability. Jury member and financial sustainability and research director Andrea Traverso said: "This programme gives participants the chance to learn the skills of successful entrepreneurs alongside the renowned academic experts at IMD. They also get to apply these entrepreneurial competences to concrete projects on women’s football. Therefore, this high-level expertise can directly benefit a strategic priority for UEFA."
One of the participants from UEFA, Andrea Brighenti said: "The risk-free environment allowed us to create and exchange ideas without any fear and in a fun setting, as we learned that real innovation cannot happen without failures. Collaborating with professionals from other sports and industries helped us think how we can bring new ideas into football."
Start-up seeks new sustainability solutions
Another initiative that the UEFA Innovation Hub is once again committed to is Reimagine Football – joining forces with the likes of the KNVB, the Johan Cruijff ArenA, City Football Group and AFC Ajax. Organising three innovation challenges a year, the focus for Reimagine Football in 2020 was the impact of COVID and how to engage fans with European competitions while the stadiums remained empty.
This year, the goal centred on reducing the carbon footprint of football games – both regarding the travel needed and making waste management a more circular process. Find out more here.