Friday, 7 June 2019

Another Amazing Active Uprising in Manchester - 2019

For the second year, the leaders, trailblazers, and influencers in the fitness industry gathered in Manchester for Active Uprising. This is ukactive’s annual conference, bringing together powerful keynotes from inspirational thought leaders, along with business and leadership sessions, ActiveLab, and an awards dinner.

Huw Edwards, acting CEO of ukactive opened with news of the new MoU with Sport England to accelerate the movement towards getting more people more active more often. There are 5 focus areas; digital, inclusion, campaigns (in coordination with providers), infrastructure (public & private), and workforce.

Jack Connors then introduced the 2019 ActiveLab cohort, who all delivered their 90 second pitches. My personal scoring system (based on product, presentation and relevance) put CoachAI and HealthPod in first equal, and in the live vote later in the day, CoachAI won the most votes from the audience (241 people took the poll, according to the app). Congratulations to all the participants, and good luck with your businesses going forwards, we watch with interest!

Next up, Phil Horton from headline sponsor mihabodytec introduced Jeremy Snape, a leading sports psychologist and former England cricketer. Jeremy delivered a brilliant keynote on the importance of mindset, focusing on thriving under pressure, learning and agility, and the power of shared purpose. Through a series of motivational questions and quotes, some funny and edifying stories, and insightful video clips from athletes and business people, he explained how to create and maintain a positive approach to sport and business. “Don’t think win, think What’s Important Now” was a great mantra that a lot of delegates took away.

It was a hard choice between breakout sessions, but the Active Workforce stream offered an interesting debate between Nuffield Health, Our Parks, and Impact Innovation, chaired by Stuart Armstrong from Sport England. It was fascinating to hear of the role of tech in shopping apps (John Lewis and New Look) that could identify customers in store, which went unused due to lack of staff training.

After lunch, Tanni Grey-Thompson presented some of the stats from the recent Women in Fitness Leadership survey commissioned by eGym carried out by GGFit. She was joined on stage by Joanna Rowsell, Elena Lapetra and Sophie Lawler. This was a great discussion around empowering women on the sports field and in the boardroom. One of my favourite data facts of the day was from Joanna Rowsell, that parkrun are promoting that their average 5k times are actually getting slower. More people are walking at parkrun, which makes it more inclusive than ever, which is a good thing for getting more people more active more often!

Parkrun average times getting slower - great marketing!

In the final breakout session, Dave Stalker stoked some debate around aggregators (or aggravators), with contributions from Pure Gym, Engine Room, RIG and MoveGB. The key message that everyone agreed was that it is crucial for the club to be in control of the members, pricing, and data, as much as possible. Some more heated debate followed with questions from the floor (from OpenActive and GymPass), but the session finished on good terms.

Once again, Active Uprising was a great success, with inspiring content and ideas, great connections, and a really nice new waterbottle. Thanks to ukactive and all the sponsors, and we’ll see you at the National Summit on 31 October in London.

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