Friday, 9 February 2018

WHY SPORTS Future of Sport Conference 2018

We were privileged to attend the WHY SPORTS Future of Sport 2018: Activity and Employment Conference this week at the Royal Society of Medicine in London. With key messages around Kids Activity, Public Health, Education and Employment, there were many parallels and lessons to apply to the health club industry.

Kenny Gibson, Head of Public Health Commissioning for NHS England opened by talking about data and communication.
He said that good data was essential to evidence actions and outcomes. Communications that are fire message compliant, i.e. short and to the point, like a tweet, have more impact today, and infographics are key to getting a point across. Kenny explained that 27% of letters sent within London don’t reach their addressees due to transience and bad record keeping. [Still it’s better than an average open rate of 20% for email in the health & fitness industry.]

Jayne Molyneaux, Director Children and Young People at Sport England spoke about avoiding negative experiences and getting people (kids) to enjoy and choose activity. This is difficult given that the natural choice for many (kids) is TV, or a mobile device. There are 3 perceptions that we need to overcome in young people, which are:

#1: Physical activity is competitive sport
#2: You can’t choose which activity you do
#3: Negative attitudes towards activity from parents and other adults

To be clear, these are misconceptions... for example specialist training is being implemented in secondary schools to overcome #2, and help kids to choose activities.

This made me think about competition in the health club industry, a good reminder that while clubs think they are competing with the club next door, the bigger competitor is Netflix, or inactivity in general.

Ali Oliver CEO of the Youth Sports Trust told us about their 4 core values of Integrity, Responsibility, Partnerships and Trust. Amongst others, she quoted Colleen Wilcox, “Teaching is the greatest act of optimism”. She was followed by Jack Shakespeare, Head of ukactive Kids taking us from playground to policy, and Alex Stacey from UKSport, inspired to get involved by Sally Gunnell winning gold in Barcelona in 1992.

After an excellent networking lunch, workshop sessions included 4Global, Utku Toprakseven and Natalie Davis, talking about using data to shape the future of sport, focusing on retention, compliance, funding, and evidence.

The other workshop highlight was Paul Roberts from MyCustomerLens who shared how collecting customer insights can create impactful actions. Viewing an organisation from a customer perspective can help achieve customer and revenue growth.

It was also great to catch-up with imoves, in the exhibition space, and to find out the developments and progress they have made since winning last year’s ukactive’s ActiveLab accelerator programme.

The delegates, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors were all very engaging, the networking was good, and the location superb. It was refreshing to hear speakers offering advice and education, and also asking for help, advice, and connections. In general, they were reaching out to the audience, rather than pitching to the delegates. All in all, it was a very interesting and well organised conference, kudos and thanks to WHY SPORTS.

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