Sports community challenged to revolutionise the fan experience

HYVE Future Fan ExperienceOn behalf of a large international company, innovation company HYVE is holding the Future Fan Experience contest to uncover innovative and creative ideas to enhance the fan experience of sports fans. With the contest in full swing, I interview HYVE’s project and community manager Veton Dida about the contest, the company and innovation communities.

The HYVE Future Fan Experience Contest

When watching sports the score is important to fans, but for many just as important is the whole fan experience before, during and after the game. With constant technological developments, sports organisations and stadiums have the ability to cater to the changing needs of today’s sports fan both in and outside the stadium. But what do sports fans want? How can the future fan experience be improved?

German company HYVE has set up an online competition – the Future Fan Experience – on their community platform HYVE Crowd to find the answer(s). Until December 23rd 2016 the international sports community can upload their ideas, which will be evaluated by other HYVE Crowders and experts, and win prizes up to €1000.

The company is mainly “searching for some cool ideas and concepts”, says project manager Veton. “Like, how can you really revolutionise the fan experience, the fan engagement? How can you make the life of the fan better and make his or her experience better?”

Veton gives an example of what kind of ideas fans should think of,You can say something about pain points when you are travelling to football matches or you are living in China and you just say, ‘Hey, how can I right now be at any stadium I want to in the world?’ How can the experience be improved?”

On HYVE’s website, fans get an extensive introduction to help in the brainstorming process. Think of the sort fans (foreign fans or pure event fans) watching sports or technologies (virtual reality and beacons) being used, but also the different stages (before, during and after the game) of the fan experience. So all the elements underlying the fan experience, contestants should take into consideration when submitting their innovative and creative ideas.

The HYVE Crowd as innovation community

The HYVE Crowd is now tapped to provide ideas to better the fan experience in sports, but the community is not only used to crowdsource for solutions to sports related problems. Actually, the Future Fan Experience contest is one of the first sports related contests HYVE holds on its platforms.

The dynamic, almost startup-like, company creates and conceptualises live contests for clients from a range of industries, including engineering and sports. 

“The contests are all innovation contests and most of them are open innovation contests where we crowdsource solutions to any challenges”, Veton explains. “We have our own contest platform HYVE Crowd and we also have external platforms, where we have a lot of innovation contests. But it is always specific for a company. Like we did something for the Austrian Post, or currently we have something running for Vodafone, where we branded their platform. It is our platform, our software – we provide software as a service – and there we try to manage and get information from the crowd and ideas for problems.”

HYVE provides four contests at the moment, including the Future Fan Experience. By crowdsourcing for ideas among an international community, HYVE hopes to find better solutions for their clients.

HYVE Future Fan Experience

Developing the crowdsourced ideas

HYVE and their clients have the right to use and implement the submitted ideas. Depending on the contest and industry, the amount of entries can range from tens to hundreds with sometimes multiple readily implementable ideas.

Other ideas need to be first further developed within the community with the “whole community often working together on ideas”. On the idea-development process Veton says, “You can post it [the idea] on the platform and then there are maybe some community managers who try to get the most potential out of your idea. They will say, ‘Hey, what about this fact, maybe you can think over this specific way, because you can enhance your idea.’ And the other users can tell you something about the idea, like ‘Cool idea, maybe you can think about this specific fact’.”

The whole community works together, not only on improving ideas, but also on evaluating which entries are the best and will be awarded one of four prizes in February 2017. Veton describes the evaluation process, “We have stars, and one star is like one point. Five stars, five points. And the more points you get, the better your idea and the same counts for the experts. The experts, which are a big part in the contest for enhancing ideas on the platform, have additional criteria, which the users cannot vote on.”
“The expert team is built by the clients, because the clients have the specific expertise in the given topic. They can measure, this is scalable, this is maybe also feasible, can we implement this in our, I don’t know, stadiums.”

In the end the four best ideas get a monetary prize ranging from €250 to €1000. In addition to the monetary prize, the winner will get a chance to work with the project team. “Next to the monetary prize you also get the chance to meet the people behind the contest and getting to network with them.” Which in the past has even led to job offers.

Mobilising a community and marketing the contest

So will the Future Fan Experience contest be getting a lot of entries? So far 64 ideas have been submitted. Veton hopes for hundreds, but “would be happy with 150 ideas”.

That the Future Fan Experience contest is about sports will likely influence the amount of entries. Veton himself believes the contest will have more engagement, given “the huge range of participants”. “Everybody is involved in sports. Everybody has a relation to some event and that is why it is more of an attractive contest.” He says, “At this moment, who is not a football fan? At some point in your life you watch a football game.”

Veton goes on to illustrate how HYVE mobilises their innovation community for a contest like this. “It requires a lot of research at the beginning. Most of the time we search for target groups. We have a lot of innovators on our platform, who participate in every contest we have. There is not a contest they do not participate in and they have fun to participate and win something. So we have like a base of people on our platform, which always participate. And we always recruit people who are engaged in some clubs or some fan clubs. Or people who just love to be innovative and creative,” he says. Before continuing, “We go into some blogs and forums and stuff, who would like to participate in the contest. We also like to include students. We go to universities and tell them about the contest, ‘Hey, you can win something. Also you get to network wit a big company’.”

A diverse group of people is thus targeted by HYVE to participate in the innovation community to create solutions to their clients’ problems and in the meantime have a chance to win a prize.

Starting your own (innovation) community

Managing the HYVE Crowd and other (innovation) communities, I ask Veton what advise he would give to sports organisations and startups that want to start a community to generate user generated content or innovative ideas.

He points at the importance of recruitment. “The thing is, to get a community started, it is a huge approach to recruit. Like, you have to get the target groups. You have to identify them and say, ‘Okay, this is the target group for my contest and I need to get them to my platform’. Without any incentives, without any motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic, you won’t get the people. So you have to give them a problem. ‘Hey guys, this is the problem and you have to get your thought and your input to solve this problem, to get a solution for the whole thing. Let’s do it together’. Really you have to create a family kind of community.”

If you want to know more about the HYVE Future Fan Experience contest or submit your own ideas, you can visit their website or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

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