OUR FOOTBALL PILOT
How to enter a new domain
The Norwegian football pilot started about 8 years ago when SkillRace established a partnership with the Norwegian Top Football Association and its Football Centre of Excellence. The partnership evolved further and 4 years ago we started a software project where the main objective was to create a common platform for all Norwegian top clubs. The platform should provide the football academies with features for academy management, player&coach developers, coaches and players.
The football industry already has a plethora of software to facilitate their work processes. However, they are all "silo systems". Some really great at solving the task at hand, but altogether with limited capabilities of exploiting the data, information and knowledge across the system borders in a more holistic approach.
The competitive and skill-wise complex sport of football is also to an extreme degree exposed to the potential damage of sacrificing long-term improvement at the expense of short-term results. There is also a lot of feedback to learning from the matches, as much as the matches form an important arena for learning. As a consequence, we have to deal with both production and development in the same context.
Conclusively, we found that they key to a successful digitalization, in a way that transforms the future of football, was to create a holistic digital platform where learning is a natural part of the production process. Added to this, and from the fact that Norway is a small country with limited resources, we decided to make sure that the platform had flexible features for sharing best-practice across organizational borders with all people and organizations involved in the sport as potential producers and consumers of content.
Another important realization, is that the development process starts at a young age and the fact that football involves people from the whole range of academic background. So the complexity must be hidden, and even presented in a fun and engaging manner.
"It must be as simple as Facebook, but yet as powerful as Wikipedia"
BUILDING "CRITICAL MASS"
For an ecosystem to work and start to prove its full potential, there must be a critical mass of users spanning the different roles, so that their respective use cases and contributions can come into play.