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MOVE Congress 2013 vision: Opportunities and innovation await in our dynamic sector

“Innovation can be a very powerful engine for growth, but only if it follows a clear vision and mission. Innovation is not just to innovate, to create something new. You innovate because you have something to achieve.” Professor Silvano Zanusso, TechnoGym, Italy


On 16 October 2013, the City of Barcelona, UBAE, Eurofitness, CESS and ISCA welcomed 276 grassroots sports organisations, industry, government and research representatives from over 40 countries to the MOVE Congress 2013. With so many stakeholders in the sector gathered in one place, the Congress was a dynamic and literally active setting to address a key question: In times of economical change, how can we find new opportunities to adapt and innovate what we are delivering in our sector?


No fewer than 63 speakers led the discussions at plenary and parallel sessions and workshops featuring vibrant initiatives including projects supported by the European Union. Some even delivered their messages from the seat of an exercise bike! And the Open Market Fair offered interactive opportunities for the participants to explore each others’ projects and opportunities for new partnerships.


So the MOVE Congress 2013 was innovative and it encouraged its participants to use change to find ways to create something new and exciting. But what is the vision and mission behind our desire to innovate?


What we want to achieve together is clear. We want to make sure the sport and physical activity sector is a valued contributor to preventing non-communicable diseases, improving people’s physical and mental wellbeing, reducing the gap between physically active and inactive populations, and enabling all citizens to exercise their right to enjoy the benefits of a physically active lifestyle.


To do this, we need to give each stakeholder in our sector and other related sectors the best chance to be part of the sport for all movement and be recognised for their contributions to it. The presenters at the MOVE Congress 2013 succeeded in bringing attention to initiatives harnessing the potential of underestimated and emerging parts of the sector, including:


Socially disadvantaged groups, youth and the elderly – underestimated


- “Socially disadvantaged groups are not hard to reach, they’re easy to reach.” Kerry McDonald, StreetGames, UK

- “Stop believing young people are only good at distributing flyers!” Laska Nenova, WOW Sport, Bulgaria

- “With the elderly population growing it is really important for them to know that there is also something for them to do.” Ingrid Peeters, OKRA-SPORT, Belgium


Partnerships between non-governmental sports organisations, municipalities and the corporate sector – emerging


- “Everybody knows the benefits of cross-sector partnerships, but somebody needs to coordinate and organise them and this is something we need to discover.” Lena Knorr, City of Stuttgart, Germany

- “We believe that working with partners and listening to the thought leaders in grassroots sport, who are in abundance at the MOVE Congress, inspires us to better understand the importance of grassroots programs to move more people and get more people active.” Wouter Vermeulen, Coca-Cola Europe, Belgium


The MOVE Congress is one way for our efforts to be noticed beyond our communities and countries. But it only comes by once a year. In the mean time, we rely on you and your organisations to continue finding ways to encourage people to be active, to connect with each other and expand the reach of your initiatives.


In the words of MOVE Congress 2013 organising partner Toni Llop, President of CESS, Spain:

“I would like to ask you all for just one commitment. We have introduced three key words: changes, opportunities, innovations. So I ask you, please find your opportunity to innovate and change the grassroots sport sector together.”


We look forward to hearing all about your progress at the MOVE Congress 2014 in Rome!


Find newly uploaded interviews, photos and presentations from the Congress here


Join us at the MOVE Congress 2014 in Rome