A Day at the #ASTN2012 Conference

The Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN) Annual Conference was held in The Captain’s Room, Simonds Stadium, Kardinia Park, Geelong on 2 November.
Senator Kate Lundy opened this inaugural ASTN Conference. Senator Lundy, the Minister for Sport and the Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation is a passionate advocate for sport and technology. I think Australian sport is served remarkably by her. She even found time to tweet (#ASTN2012 was the tag for the conference) about the event.

The Chair of the Board of the Australian Sports Commission, John Wiley added his welcome to Conference delegates. In his talk, John noted the creativity, and risk appetite in the United States of America. He commented on the rewarding experience of entrepreneurial spirit and discussed how this might be expressed as a national competitive advantage through the combination of sport, science and research. John saw a great opportunity to combine these in the ASTN.
John did discuss the retention of Intellectual Property (IP) and the systematic approach commercial success. He thought the NASA model was an excellent example of this approach. John cited two examples of the commercialisation of IP in Australian sport: the development of the MiniMax tracking units that emerged from a Cooperative Research Centre; and the emergence of the CSIRO/AIS RF WASP technology.
John concluded his talk with the observation that the sport sector is good at innovating but poor at commercialising. He noted that risk capital is becoming more available. He suggested that two key issues need to be addressed in growingsports technologies markets: how to develop a culture of partnership and collaboration; and how to support the people who do make a difference.
He noted that post London Olympics and Paralympics, ASTN has a very important role to play and he welcomed the Australian Government’s support for ASTN.
The newly elected Mayor of Geelong, Keith Fagg, welcomed delegates too.
Thereafter there was a packed day of presentations and discussions.
Danny Samson shared the findings of his Lifting Our Game: Developing sports technologies to create value in his Crossing the boundary: from invention to commercial outcomes talk. Danny discussed pathways from invention to commercial outcomes. He lauded sport technology invention engines but lamented the limited commercialisation activity to date. He shared his experience of his involvement in the Diggerworks community of practice as an example of how a sector can come together to integrate research, development and commercial outcomes. He pointed to Samsung’s flourishing as a research and development organisation.
John Bertrand followed on from Danny and discussed Leading High Performance and Technology Innovation in Sport. He shared his experiences of start up ventures in the 1990s and used his current involvement with Sailing’s High Performance program in the pursuit of best practice to discuss how successful organisations position themselves. At present, the High Performance program is undertaking a benchmarking study of systems that support athletes, coaches, and administrators. John concluded his presentation with a the discussion of the soul component of success and the spirit of winning inspired by his conversations with Victor Kovalenko.
There followed five panel presentations and discussions.
First Panel Discussion
National Sporting Organisations and Their Technology Needs
Phil Martin (Australian Football League), Alisa Camplin-Warner, Alec Buttfield (Cycling Australia) and Nick Brown (Australian Institute of Sport)
Second Panel Discussion
The Sporting Goods Industry and Sports Consumer Trends
Ian Krawitz (10 Thousand Feet), Shannon Walker (Australian Sporting Goods Association), Paul Faulkner (Nike Asia-Pacific), Chris Morgan (Associated Retailers)
Third Panel Discussion
Australia’s Sports Technology research expertise: Insights from our universities and research centres (Part 1)
 Franz Konstantin Fuss (RMIT University), Michael McKenna (Victoria University), Paul Collins (Deakin University), Richard Helmer (CSIRO).
Fourth Panel Discussion
Australia’s Sports Technology research expertise: Insights from our universities and research centres (Part 2)
Daniel James (Griffith University), Keith Lyons (University of Canberra), Leon Piterman (Monash University), Nick Brown (Australian Institute of Sport)
Fifth Panel Discussion
(Chaired by James Demetriou, Australian Sports Technology Ventures)
Sports Technologies and Business: What it takes to be successful
Brian Cooney (IMG Sports Technology Group), Brendan Denning (Albion Sports), Geoff Maloney (POD Active) Nick Maywald (Sporting Pulse)
The day concluded with the ASTN’s inaugural Sports Tech Investment Pitching Competition. Albion Sports took out the first prize.
It was a whirlwind of a day in the Captain’s Room. I was very impressed by the range of ideas and practices that were shared at the Conference. I do think that this is a great time to explore a connectivist approach in a burgeoning Australian Sports Technologies Network.
I am optimistic that the day stimulated thoughts about a non-zero sum approach to the flourishing of Sport Technology in Australia. There are enormous opportunities to be explored and realised.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here