How are industry and academic experts coming together to create infinity in sport?
It came completely out of the blue. I was just about to get to my football coaching session when I received an unexpected call from my contact at adidas saying “Hey, do you want to be a part of creating Sport Infinity?”
We chatted about this awesome project. It was a complete no-brainer, I had to get involved!
My German counterpart at Coerver Coaching and I have been working with the FUTURE team at adidas for a while now. During one of our conversations they told us about this research project funded by the European Commission that brings together ten industry and academic experts to look into how sporting goods could live on forever. It sounded right up our alley and we jumped in to partner up.
Sport Infinity looks into creating sporting product out of an innovative 3D shapeable recycled material.
Imagine, once your football boot has reached its end of life, it can simply be brought back to be broken down and remoulded into a whole new customised football or a boot – again and again.
What’s more, consumers are now co-creators and will co-design and customise these products based on the features and look & feel they’d like.
How do I want to approach this task?
Partner up with the unfamiliar to expand horizons. The research project led by adidas draws together experts across so many fields. Areas that I wouldn’t have directly connected with before, but that’s the beauty of cross-industry projects.
Once you have set your eye on the goal, there is no saying where the exciting solutions crop up from.
The contacts and experience that I have gained through this process to date are invaluable.
Besides adidas, so far, I have worked most closely with KISKA, who bring some fantastic design expertise to the table. But we’ve also spent time with our colleagues from BASF, experts in chemical innovation who previously worked together with adidas on the BOOST technology. I’m also really looking forward to digging deeper into the world of research with the University of Leeds, FAU and CETI, and working on some great new product manufacturing techniques with OECHSLER and FILL. Even though the partners are so varied, we have all connected well after a lot of conversations about football (no arguments yet!).
Get the young creators involved
The project spans over three years to create football product that you will never have to throw away. So once your football boot reaches the end of life, you can bring it back to be broken down and recycled into raw material, allowing you to design shiny new customised boots or even a football. It will take all the brainpower and expertise of the partners to bring this to life. But what it comes down to in the end is whether this future technology meets the needs of the young consumer
To make sure this isn’t just a great concept, but actually works, we will be working closely with young footballers across different countries so that they can deliver their feedback by testing the products in conjunction with KISKA and adidas. We have already kicked off some consumer insight sessions with our young footballers across Germany and the UK. The response so far has been really positive.
At the end of the day, Sport Infinity allows for such design flexibility and speedy manufacturing that every football fan will now be a co-creator of the product they want!
Keep an open mind and learn from every experience
I am approaching this project with an open, growth mindset. It’s a new experience for me. One in which I want to learn a lot from the process and other partners. It is also really important for us to support adidas on such an important initiative. I’m most looking forward to working closely with the group and getting the chance to learn and contribute to this game-changing project. I also look forward to spending time with our players and their parents in different countries, which can only improve what we do.
What was your last experience of teaming up with different partners to expand horizons?