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THE SPOT: It’s a wrap as 2022 edition becomes the most interactive to date

The third, sold out edition of THE SPOT, held in Lausanne (Switzerland) on 17 and 18 May, attracted a lively crowd of more than 500 speakers, exhibitors and delegates from sport organisations, the business world, NGOs, academia and public entities, coming from 25 different countries. After the pandemic forced a two-year pause of ThinkSport’s international sport and innovation flagship event, interactions and networking were at an all-time high during the event opening at the Olympic Museum and during the official conference programme at the SwissTech Convention Center.

More than 50 world-class speakers offered exclusive insights from different angles into a variety of topics connected to sport, technology and innovation. Conversations kicked-off with keynote speakers Meagan Loyst, youngest investor at Lerer Hippeau and Founder of Gen Z VCs, Aneesh Madani, Head of Digital Partnerships and Social Media at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and Charles Frémont, Innovation Hub Manager at UEFA. They talked TikTok, Gen Z, and how to engage younger audiences. “Listen to young people who are telling you what they want”, was the final advice from 25-year-old Loyst, who shared important insights on Gen Zs values, preferences and needs with an attentive crowd throughout the event.

Todd Harple, Innovation Director at Intel’s Olympic and Paralympic Office, spoke about how to retain talent and to prioritise purpose over process: "You can't have technology without people. In order to make the best technologies, you need to understand the people that will be using them and what they will be using them for." The anthropologist and tech innovator flagged resilience, flexibility, the use of appropriate tools and right metrics as key for employers so that people want to stay.

How to get more people moving and democratise the access to sport and sport equipment turned out to be a central concern at THE SPOT 2022. Andy Hall, Commercial Director at OliveX got the discussion started on Digital Revolution and presented a project of creating a fitness metaverse. He explained: “We want to get people more active. It is a massive target, more than 80% of the population is inactive but it is our main goal and a long-term purpose.” Likewise, Quentin Geromin, Head of Business Development at Equip and keynote speaker on “Activity and Social Impact” presented an app and self-service lockers for premium sports rental anytime, anywhere. "The strength is to generate data in real time. This can help companies and cities to better know their population and adapt their sports offering.” In turn, Benjamin Trarieux, co-founder of Hopper, addressed the important question of how to facilitate access to physical activity for people with a disability.

Another key theme at this year’s edition was sustainability. Charles Frémont and Lara van Druten, CEO of the Waste Transformers, shared with the delegates how innovation can drive positive change and how to make it happen through collaboration. They showcased as an example UEFA’s collaboration with the Waste Transformers on how to process organic waste onsite. Another session featured the ten winners of the Air Quality & Sport Challenge, who pitched their innovative solutions on how to tackle climate change in sporting environments.

The future of fan engagement and investment trends in sport provided for two more hot topics during THE SPOT. Aneesh Madani shared his experience on how to bring everyone along and get fans excited for the Olympic Games which took place during the pandemic, under unprecedented circumstances. Jonny Murch, CEO of Redtorch, underlined the importance of understanding your audience, your company or organisation, and your competitors, with the purpose of creative innovation being often very specific to an organisation. Meanwhile Rohn Malhotra, co-founder of SportsTechX, provided insights and research into the latest investment trends in sport being influenced by factors such as a growing public interest in women’s sport and the changing face of sports media with personalised content targeting new audiences.

All of the above mentioned key themes were discussed further in dedicated workshops, which gathered high level experts from different sectors and generated lots of interaction between the speakers and the delegates. The highlights of each workshop will be featured during the coming weeks on thinksport.org and were captured in cartoon form by Cartoonbase.

ThinkSport Director Anna Hellman said: “It was thrilling to see everyone eager to discover, learn and share. For this edition we went for a fresh, more compact format and introduced the workshops to increase exchange between the speakers and the delegates. The pace was dynamic and there was lots of positive energy in the room. We are very happy with the outcomes and feel everyone appreciated to meet in person again.” For THE SPOT 2022, the SwissTech Convention Center was transformed into an open space with a lively atmosphere, where participants were simultaneously exposed to a wide range of engaging content and experiences. In addition to the conference programme, the delegates were able to discover new solutions, products, and services for the sports world in the Market Place. They also were invited to put their skills to the test flying like a bird during an immersive VR experience, pushing their cardio potential at a laser game and playing digitalised ball sports.

The next edition of THE SPOT will take place on 8 and 9 May 2023 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

THE SPOT 2022 was co-organised by ThinkSport, the SwissTech Convention Center, the SwissFederalInstitute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and the Canton of Vaud and enjoyed the strong support of Havas Sports, LaSource and Sword Venue as gold partners, Sweat Works as silver and Eurovision and Redtorch as bronze partners. Several more companies and organisations served as official suppliers, institutional partners and partners for specific parts of the programme. Learn more here about all the partners.

For more information about THE SPOT 2022, visit www.thespot2022.org and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram! Join the conversation by using #TheSpot2022.

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Based in the heart of the Olympic Capital Lausanne, ThinkSport is a catalyst to develop sport and physical activity in Switzerland and beyond. The non-for-profit association serves the needs of its diverse stakeholders at local, national, and international level. Its purpose is to drive progress within the sport’s world by initiating and accompanying a unique innovation journey.

For more information, please contact Kevin Gabrielli at kevin.gabrielli@thinksport.org or +41 79 576 26 59.

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