17 May 2018

We are profiling the Innovation Excellence award category this week.  The purpose of this award is to promote and encourage innovation in the sport and recreation sector. The winner will be recognised for their outstanding innovation based on design and delivery - the 'X' factor, stakeholder relationships, key results and quality management practices.

We'd like to congratulate our finalists:

Athletics New Zealand: Vertical Pursuit 2017 & Beyond

Athletics NZ aimed to disrupt and surprise with Vertical Pursuit 2017. Leveraging the success and popularity of Olympic Bronze medallist Eliza McCartney, they brought pole vaulting to the people with a "street" pole event held at Britomart in downtown Auckland.

A logistically challenging event to organise, Vertical Pursuit delivered the X factor, delighting and surprising commuters in the middle of rush hour. The event maximised the benefits of location and timing, and created an atmosphere unlike anything experienced before at a New Zealand athletics competition.

Three of the world's top 15 female pole vaulters competed, as well as NZ's best male pole vaulters. Two national records were broken and the standard of competition from the athletes was truly world class.

Vertical Pursuit received glowing reviews from spectators, media, and athletes alike, and generated an increase in coverage and contact from journalists for the rest of the domestic season. The event's success enabled Athletics NZ to secure a significant commercial partner in SKYCITY, a new central city venue, and funding to purchase a new portable runway.

Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti i-COACH

In partnership with Central Football, Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti (SGT) developed i-COACH - a coaching video resource that influences coach retention by prioritising "how to coach" principles through a physical literacy approach.

Gisborne's isolation had historically meant coach development was limited, infrequent, and came with rigid timeframes and high cost. The move online has enabled coaches to access the resource free and on demand.

i-COACH explicitly highlights how coaches can move from a skill and technique emphasis, to instead supporting children's confidence and motivation to be involved in football, while still providing stage appropriate physical competency elements.

Of the coaches surveyed, 64% used the resource at least once each week. 100% felt that i-COACH had developed their confidence as a coach and 82% reported that they'd like to coach football again next season. This success has led to further partnerships with Touch NZ and Softball NZ.

i-COACH has already made a huge impact regionally as well as influencing NSOs to consider a new approach to foundation coach development.

Waka Ama New Zealand IT Solutions

Waka Ama New Zealand, in partnership with Alex Ryder of Enter Now Ltd, have created a fully integrated membership management system, improving the experience of event organisers, member clubs, and participants alike.

The IT solution links the Waka Ama New Zealand membership management system with its online entry system and race management tools. This integration has eased the workload on a very small volunteer workforce, while providing an enhanced experience for competitors.

The race manager software and event results systems have streamlined events and turnaround times allowing more racing and a better experience for paddlers. Lane draws and race schedules are a breeze to create. Results are live and available within minutes of an event.

The IT solution also enables Waka Ama NZ to capture statistics, provide insights, and monitor growth and retention rates at the national, regional and club level. The online entry and club membership management systems also link to Xero, streamlining invoicing.

The success of the solution is evident with several countries and the International Federation making it standard software at all world championship events.

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