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Every innovation we need already exists

Copyrights: Richard Loat

Every innovation we need already exists

"Brave new ideas that defined the last decade of change making through sport are becoming harder to come by."

I recently was speaking to someone that was bold enough to suggest all the innovation we need already exists on this planet. We merely need to find it and scale it. I was inclined to agree and break away from the traditional mindset that innovation is synonymous with “new” and that it hinged on something that hadn’t been thought of yet. I should clarify right now - this isn't saying the Intergalactic Space Travel brand of innovation has already been found on this planet but suggesting that global issues that the North aims to support the South in already have local Southern solutions that have not been given a chance.

I then posed a follow up question: “Is the sport for development movement a sector unto itself, or is it actually a movement or community within the broader development sector?”

The two thoughts may not seem interconnected but I beg to argue the opposite. It was 2003 when sport as a tool for change gained its first momentum and here we are 15 years later having carved out our own community and identifying ourselves as a standalone sector. However, while working toward mutual development outcomes framed by the Sustainable Development Goals, it occurred to me that maybe sport for development is an innovation of the development sector. If that’s the case then what does ‘innovating’ the innovation really mean?

If sport for development is an innovation of development and how we support globally developing communities then there are only two other ways in which we can innovate:

  1. We innovate sport and look at the different ways that exist to engage communities
  2. We innovate the models we create and the issues/themes we address

If that’s our revised approach to innovation knowing that sport for development is an innovation in and of itself it becomes apparent that this movement, while once a trailblazing community, is now increasingly stagnating. With tightening global purse strings existing organisations are doubling down on what they know and so are funders meaning those brave new ideas that defined the last decade of change making through sport are becoming harder to come by.

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Thursday, February 1, 2018 - 17:49