The project to improve the sports tourism experience in Andorra, presented by a group of students from the Master in Sport Management at Johan Cruyff Institute, is the winner of the Dream BIG Andorra innovation competition
Walking out the door of the classroom to learn about real projects in the sports industry is always motivating. If, in addition, you are given the opportunity to actively participate in the search for solutions so that business projects become a reality, the challenge is even more attractive. Putting students at the center of the action is in the DNA of Johan Cruyff Institute. All academic and extra-curricular activities organized by the Institute follow the ‘learning by doing’ methodology, encourage networking and open the doors of the sports industry to students at the highest level. Dream BIG Andorra is a perfect example of this.
Last month, the Andorra Esports Cluster and the Andorra Open Innovation Office launched the first edition of this entrepreneurial event, a team brainstorming competition, with a maximum time limit of three hours, in which the teams had two challenges to choose from: improving healthy lifestyle habits among the Andorran population and improving the experience of sports tourism in Andorra. More than a hundred students and entrepreneurs gathered at the MoraBanc Andorra pavilion to take part in the competition, organized by the company Imagine Creative Center, an organization devoted to identifying the needs of the sector and finding disruptive solutions. Of the three finalist teams, two were made up of students from Johan Cruyff Institute, and one of them was the winner of all the proposals presented to improve the tourism offer in the country.
“Participating in these kinds of events is where you really learn, and not only in those organized by Johan Cruyff Institute itself. I also value the fact that they get us known and encourage us to participate in other initiatives,” says Pau Martí, winner of the first Dream BIG Andorra along with his colleagues from the Official Master’s Degree in Sport Management, Martín Navarro, José Luis Hernández and Ricardo Salinas.
Andorra is more than skiing and cycling
Around 90% of the tourism that Andorra receives is in skiing, and recently cycling enthusiasts have also begun to consider its mountains as a possible destination. “Our proposal was based on the creation of a platform, in website and app format, through which you can plan your trip based on a package of sports activities that are not limited to skiing. We proposed four different packages for the four seasons of the year, with different sports in each of them. All the sports activities would include a QR code through which users could upload photos and videos of their activity. The benefit for the facilities is that their activities and services get publicity, and for the user, in addition to creating a community, they can access discounts for the purchase of future packages based on the content they share. The platform itself would act as a social network, in which people could share videos and photos of skiing, a winning shot in a game of paddle, a cycling route, etc. The idea is to publicize the whole range of sports on offer in Andorra, which is not limited to the mountains,” explains Pau.
“Participating in these kinds of events is where you really learn, and not only in those organized by Johan Cruyff Institute itself. I also value the fact that they get us known and encourage us to participate in other initiatives” – Pau Martí (student of the Official Mster’s Degree in Sport Management)
For Bruno Laborde, also a student of the Official Master’s Degree in Sport Management and a finalist in the competition, the mere fact of being able to participate in the event was “an extraordinary experience. It’s an opportunity we wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for Johan Cruyff Institute. We wouldn’t have found out about it. Not only did we go, it was also an experience that united us much more as a group, we were able to participate in a great entrepreneurship event and even win. We were divided into teams, but we went as a Johan Cruyff Institute group and we won, regardless of the team.”
For Bruno, a Uruguayan student who has taken the step of studying a master’s degree in Barcelona, it was “the first time in my life that I had taken part in an event of this type. The most positive thing is the teamwork; we were a Spaniard, a Mexican and a Uruguayan, with different ways of thinking, of solving the problem, all of which enriches the experience,” he says. The master’s degree is proving to be a great experience for Bruno. “Every activity organized by Johan Cruyff Institute is there for a reason, it gives us extensive knowledge in different areas of the sports industry. Step Day, SportBiz or Dream BIG Andorra are examples of events with very different profiles that give us information on what the industry is looking for. As a Uruguayan, I came with the idea of studying to work in football or basketball, the two most popular sports in my country, and now I am not so sure. It opens up a huge range of possibilities within the same industry. So, I’m starting to think about it because I came with a very Uruguayan focus, and I was missing out on a lot of things. I still like basketball and football, but I’m open to learning more things and that’s what Johan Cruyff Institute is giving me.”
“Every activity organized by Johan Cruyff Institute is there for a reason: Step Day, SportBiz or Dream BIG Andorra are examples of events with very different profiles that give us information on what the industry is looking for” – Bruno Laborbe (student of the Official Mster’s Degree in Sport Management)
The project idea developed by his group is based on the creation of a virtual simulator that shows users different places in Andorra through the practice of sporting activities such as, for example, discovering unknown hiking routes on an electric treadmill or cycling routes on an exercise bike. “We show people little-known places, but we are interested in getting people to go there. Through the application, different objectives would be set, which would encourage virtual competition that would then trigger the subsequent organization of a sporting event ‘in situ’, in different categories, in those places that you have already discovered in the simulator. The application would be free, but if you want to have more specific measurement data of your training and compete, you would have to pay a small fee. This way we monetize the app and give the possibility for sponsors interested in promoting their brand to join the sporting event,” explains Bruno.
“One of the advantages of studying at Johan Cruyff Institute is that you learn from teachers who are active professionals in the sports industry, but if we can also participate in different events, that’s where you meet people, have contact with other professionals and see what companies in the sector you want to work in are looking for,” adds Pau Martí.
Dream BIG Andorra was the culmination of a week that Johan Cruyff Institute and Andorran sport took advantage of to further strengthen their ties. To the existing agreements with MoraBanc Andorra, Grandvalira and the Andorran Football Federation was added a collaboration agreement with the Andorra Esports Cluster, which brings together the most important sports companies and organizations in the country. “Collaborating with the world of sport is part of our way of being. Our relationship with companies, hubs and clusters in the sports world is one of our hallmarks, and one of the things that sets us apart from other business schools is the fact that we work together with the sports industry,” explains Víctor Jordán, academic director of Johan Cruyff Institute.
“For us, companies are a real laboratory, where students learn from reality, not from past or invented cases, and companies can see that what they wanted to do can perhaps be materialized in a different way to the one they had imagined, and managed by the people who have visualized this solution” – Víctor Jordán, academic director
Events such as Dream BIG Andorra add value to Johan Cruyff Institute’s academic offer. “Companies in the sports sector need talent and we have it. Andorra organized the Imagine project, our students participated in the competition and were able to collaborate with Andorran companies. Not only did they participate, they also won!” says the academic director proudly.
Working on real projects
This collaboration with sports entities extends to all areas of sport and is a formula with added value on both sides of the scale. “Companies have the opportunity to attract talent, to see the ability of master’s students to work in teams, to innovate. We offer organizations the opportunity to present us with projects that they have in the pipeline but, due to a lack of hands or for reasons of priority, they cannot carry out, and our students and teachers try to offer a solution to that future project or strategy that has not been accomplished. For us, companies are a real laboratory, where students learn from reality, not from past or invented cases, and companies can see that what they wanted to do can perhaps be materialized in a different way to the one they had imagined, and managed by the people who have visualized this solution. It is a very interesting formula, both for the students’ learning because it is very attractive for them, and for the companies because they can recruit talent and meet objectives,” explains Víctor.