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In Conversation with Innovation Guru Mounir Zok | Sports & Tech: Improving the Dialogue
THE SPOT – meet the guest speakers!
Mounir Zok, co-founder and managing director of N3XT Sports, explains in an interview with iSportconnect how the sports and the technology sectors are slowly, but surely converging and benefitting from each other.
Sports & Tech: Improving the Dialogue
Increasingly, the sports industry is asking itself questions about how it can innovate and in this process is looking to the tech sector for answers.
But the conversation isn’t always easy between sports and tech. It has nothing to do with the willingness to engage – on the contrary, both are absolutely intent on collaborating with each other. The increasing appetite for platforms such as THE SPOT, now in its 2nd year, highlight this.
Often the intention does not materialize into action due to the two spheres speaking in different languages, according to Mounir Zok, co-founder and Managing Director of the global sports technology and innovation consultancy N3XT Sports, who will be one of the guest speakers at the event on May 28-29, 2019.
And the reason they don’t speak the same language tends to boil down to their mandates at solving entirely different problems; traditionally.
It is now becoming increasingly apparent that the problems aren’t anymore as different as they seem.
He uses the example of the health sector. On the surface of it, a hospital has nothing to do with sports. People come there and need to be looked after. They have different wants and needs. They have to be treated, at different times, by different doctors and nurses. The have to be fed. Resources need to be moved around in real time to do the job.
It all means loads of data needs to be absorbed, analyzed and put to the most effective possible use. In short, a hospital is a digital eco-system.
Maybe it doesn’t sound quite so different now. Think of a football club. Instead of hospital rooms, there are stands in a stadium. Instead of patients, there are fans. Instead of prescriptions, tickets. Food is food.
You get the point. It’s not hard to see how a digital data solution from health care could be adapted and integrated into a sports environment. But it doesn’t just happen.
“N3XT Sports is about enabling the development of technology and innovation in sports, through the bridging of the divide, and our clients include tech companies and sports organizations as well as brands,” said Zok, who previously served as Director of Technology and Innovation at the US Olympic Committee. “We explore future value propositions, mixing foresight & trends analysis with deep sports expertise, and drive organizations to adapt their talent, processes, and policies to anticipate the changes needed. We also support entrepreneurs and organizations to develop go-to-market strategies, commercialization plans, partnership, investment strategies -- essentially giving future-proof ideas legs to stand on.”
Another focus of N3XT Sports is to work with entrepreneurs (a focus of THE SPOT too). With the genesis of N3XT Sports in Silicon Valley, Zok’s firm has access to leading venture capital firms, technology corporations, and innovators based in Silicon Valley and across the US.
Think of start-ups as the “grassroots” of technology, just like in sports. The worlds are not so different. It’s just a matter of learning to speak the same language, a new language. N3XT is actually quite a meaningful name.
By Jay Stuart, Editor at iSportconnect