The Sports Innovation Institute, along with the NCAA and Indiana Sports Corp, recently staged an Innovation Sprint for IUPUI students studying sports management, human computer interaction, and computer graphic technology.
The friendly competition pitted groups of students against each other to creatively generate ideas related to route and on-site activation of the 2021 Final Four: Fan Jam Activation. Students were challenged to identify ways to drive awareness to the 2021 Final Four Weekend in Indianapolis, acquire new volunteers and advocates, and engage diverse communities in new ways.
As part of the project, students examined on-site activities, social media strategies, new audiences, promotions, and creative sponsorship recognition. Virtual reality, interactive photo booths, creative visual publicity, prizes, and hands-on activities were all part of the solutions students presented to stakeholders.
NCAA’s coordinator of men’s championships, Niko Roberts, was inspired by student innovation and creativity. “The students’ different ideas were striking,” Roberts shared. “They opened our eyes to many opportunities that we had never considered. It helped us to think more outside the box and widen our scope.”
Sports Innovation Institute (SII) director David Pierce, Ph.D., helped organize the 24-hour challenge and touted the unique learning value activities like this present.
“This experience provides unparalleled opportunity for IUPUI students,” Pierce noted, “because students are given creative license to reimagine a real event that will be happening across the state next year and present their ideas in front of the event organizers.”
Event impact does not stop with students. It also delivers return on investment to SII’s partner organizations and the greater community.
“The insights we received as a result of this weekend,” Roberts said, “will enable us to continue to enhance the Fan Jam, expand our audience, and will entice us to collaborate with the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute team to continue to improve our programs and allow these students to apply their talents to real-life situations.”
Bringing diverse students together to creatively work within the Indianapolis community is an institute hallmark. According to Pierce, “The [Fan-Jam Innovation Sprint] experience is a prime example of how the Sports Innovation Institute gets students from various academic backgrounds and skill sets to work together to imagine the future of sports and events.”
Roberts hopes that sharing this example will encourage others to work with the institute. “I would encourage other entities to collaborate with the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute team,” he said, “because there are so many gifted students in that program that have the desire to create something new and impactful.”
Cover artwork provided by JD Bills, created during the Innovation Sprint 2020