May 19, 2020

WeSportUs: how business strategy can revolutionize sports scouting

Sports
talent management
WeSportUs
hotmaillogin
8 min
WeSportUs: how business strategy can revolutionize sports scouting

Business is often told to consider what it can learn from sport. But what about the other way around? What could sport learn from business? Sport focuses on winning, the team spirit and match analysis, but could it also learn how to focus on customers, empower teams and better use technology?

Could technology disrupt sport and the talent-scouting process? I think it could definitely benefit from technologies that could decentralize decision-making. 

I had an experience in Africa that convinced me to try and develop a solution. In Abidjan, a city on the southern Atlantic coast of Côte d'Ivoire, I came across a group of young footballers. Boys, with sandals on their feet, were playing on a field that looked more like scrub than a Premiership stadium. They let me join in for a little game. And we lost 10-0! Despite having never set foot in a training center and playing in sandals, one young player scored 8 goals! It disappoints me that this boy’s raw talent could go unspotted due to a lack of resources and visibility. 

The sports world wouldn’t be the first entertainment industry to be challenged by technology. The music industry has had to reinvent itself by harnessing, rather than continuing to fight, technology. So, the sports world could reinvent itself through digital to combine entertainment experience, performance, and the experiences of professional and amateur athletes. 

The benefit is twofold: to give more visibility to talent, and to facilitate their relationship with potential supporters. All this and an opportunity to restore sport's positive image, which has been tarnished by numerous scandals. 

But how would this work when so many people play sports? In 2017, 2 out of 5 people across Europe played at least one sport once a week; 3 out of ten also played in clubs. That’s nearly 155 million, not to mention the amateurs who sometimes play several sports, in the park or at home. More than 600,000 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube every day. With so many people participating in sport, it is difficult to identify the new talent who could dominate their discipline.

The solution would need to incorporate an innovative social network based on openness. Today, our talent spotting system is focused on just a few institutions located in the richest countries. So we need a mechanism which could enable young talent to truly emerge from the multitude of amateur athletes around the world. This is still difficult to imagine on social networks in their current format.

In asking myself how we could make sports-scouting less random, I started thinking about my experience of business, banking and blockchain. Could scouting benefit from blockchain; the disruptive technology that is disrupting the business world? It is a decentralized and participatory system and so, through its differentiating cultural and monetary value proposition, we could use blockchain to engage the social sports community in a different way. 

Why bet on the blockchain? Because the fundamentals of this technology are based on the very notion of transparency and information sharing. It is a technology that is open to almost everyone, is decentralized and transparent. As a result, each transaction belongs to both individuals and everyone at the same time, making the system completely democratic and robust. 

This technology gives us an opportunity to bring fans back to the center of sport. Using decentralization, athletes can showcase themselves and fans can like them, raising their profiles to potential patrons, sponsors and clubs. They can even give new talent a boost by microfunding new boots or access to professional training grounds. 

In business terms, this clearly demonstrates how sport can better listen to their customers (fans) and empower them. Fan involvement could also bring their passion and sense of fair play back to the heart of the global sports community.

I want us to imagine a sports social network model that integrates a cryptocurrency and gives power to the fan communities that will elect the young athletes of tomorrow. it's not a pipe dream. Social networks could take on their full meaning and we can move from a narcissistic vision to a holistic approach, taking on the role of revealing talent and creating a meritocracy. The world of sport is truly at the crossroads of funding innovations and the emergence of new media to reinvent the entertainment of tomorrow.

At the moment, too much talent is never seen, never makes it out of the park game and into the arena, because the players never get scouted. We’re inventing a decentralized global talent detection platform, within the reach of sports professionals, which will promote champions from multiple horizons. 

What if new technology and business nous could find, support and sponsor the next Usain Bolt or the future Kylian Mbappé? That’s the plan at WeSportUs.

Business is often told to consider what it can learn from sport. But what about the other way around? What could sport learn from business? Sport focuses on winning, the team spirit and match analysis, but could it also learn how to focus on customers, empower teams and better use technology?

Could technology disrupt sport and the talent-scouting process? I think it could definitely benefit from technologies that could decentralize decision-making. 

SEE ALSO: 

I had an experience in Africa that convinced me to try and develop a solution. In Abidjan, a city on the southern Atlantic coast of Côte d'Ivoire, I came across a group of young footballers. Boys, with sandals on their feet, were playing on a field that looked more like scrub than a Premiership stadium. They let me join in for a little game. And we lost 10-0! Despite having never set foot in a training center and playing in sandals, one young player scored 8 goals! It disappoints me that this boy’s raw talent could go unspotted due to a lack of resources and visibility. 

The sports world wouldn’t be the first entertainment industry to be challenged by technology. The music industry has had to reinvent itself by harnessing, rather than continuing to fight, technology. So, the sports world could reinvent itself through digital to combine entertainment experience, performance, and the experiences of professional and amateur athletes. 

The benefit is twofold: to give more visibility to talent, and to facilitate their relationship with potential supporters. All this and an opportunity to restore sport's positive image, which has been tarnished by numerous scandals. 

But how would this work when so many people play sports? In 2017, 2 out of 5 people across Europe played at least one sport once a week; 3 out of ten also played in clubs. That’s nearly 155 million, not to mention the amateurs who sometimes play several sports, in the park or at home. More than 600,000 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube every day. With so many people participating in sport, it is difficult to identify the new talent who could dominate their discipline.

The solution would need to incorporate an innovative social network based on openness. Today, our talent spotting system is focused on just a few institutions located in the richest countries. So we need a mechanism which could enable young talent to truly emerge from the multitude of amateur athletes around the world. This is still difficult to imagine on social networks in their current format.

In asking myself how we could make sports-scouting less random, I started thinking about my experience of business, banking and blockchain. Could scouting benefit from blockchain; the disruptive technology that is disrupting the business world? It is a decentralized and participatory system and so, through its differentiating cultural and monetary value proposition, we could use blockchain to engage the social sports community in a different way. 

Why bet on the blockchain? Because the fundamentals of this technology are based on the very notion of transparency and information sharing. It is a technology that is open to almost everyone, is decentralized and transparent. As a result, each transaction belongs to both individuals and everyone at the same time, making the system completely democratic and robust. 

This technology gives us an opportunity to bring fans back to the center of sport. Using decentralization, athletes can showcase themselves and fans can like them, raising their profiles to potential patrons, sponsors and clubs. They can even give new talent a boost by microfunding new boots or access to professional training grounds. 

In business terms, this clearly demonstrates how sport can better listen to their customers (fans) and empower them. Fan involvement could also bring their passion and sense of fair play back to the heart of the global sports community.

I want us to imagine a sports social network model that integrates a cryptocurrency and gives power to the fan communities that will elect the young athletes of tomorrow. it's not a pipe dream. Social networks could take on their full meaning and we can move from a narcissistic vision to a holistic approach, taking on the role of revealing talent and creating a meritocracy. The world of sport is truly at the crossroads of funding innovations and the emergence of new media to reinvent the entertainment of tomorrow.

At the moment, too much talent is never seen, never makes it out of the park game and into the arena, because the players never get scouted. We’re inventing a decentralized global talent detection platform, within the reach of sports professionals, which will promote champions from multiple horizons. 

What if new technology and business nous could find, support and sponsor the next Usain Bolt or the future Kylian Mbappé? That’s the plan at WeSportUs.

 

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

CMO
Kyndryl
IBM
Leadership
Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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