Written by Josh Kelly (2020 Sport Management Graduate)
During this final semester at IUPUI, I participated in JagStart, IUPUIâ€™s small business competition for undergraduate and graduate students. I pitched an idea and business I have been in the process of starting for a while now. This business, Full Court Analytics, is a subscription-based service that provides high school and AAU basketball teams with high-level analytics and statistical analysis to improve on court performance.
As a sports management student, my previous seven semesters at IUPUI completely and fully prepared me for this experienceâ€”of not only JagStart but starting an innovative sport business overall. From the first day I stepped on campus, the sports management professors at IUPUI have helped and given me the tools to develop and prepare myself for any situation my career can and will throw at me. JagStart is the perfect example of this.
While each and every class in the sports management curriculum developed my professional skill set, the consulting class is the biggest reason I had the tools and knowledge to win the Audience Choice Award at JagStart 2020. The consulting class provided me with a unique way of learning via hands-on experiencesâ€”with not only sports management students, but also interior design students.
I utilized two main takeaways from the consulting class during JagStart.
1 – The Need for Empathy
From the first day of class to the end of the capstone, an emphasis was put on us to emphathize with the end-users. It was this empathetic thinking approach that I used to build out my own business.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking about problems through only your own lens. During the capstone, we were continuously taught of how to look at problems through the eyes of the users. This is how I built the Full Court Analytics business, through what the COACHES need and want. Empathizing with what their problem areas are, along with how to bring innovative solutions to these issues, is how Full Court Analytics operates.
2 – Utilizing the Human-centered Design-thinking Process
During the capstone, we were taught how to use the human-centered design-thinking process. The biggest thing this process taught me, simply put, is to empathize with end-users and fully define the problem areas before jumping straight into a solution. Too many classes follow this same pattern: find a group, be given a problem to solve, and use the first solution thought of as the basis of your entire project. What the design-thinking process taught me is that taking the time to learn about your audience and thoroughly define their problem areas will allow you to create an exponentially better product and end result.
This thinking process is what I used to develop my business and pitch for JagStart. I took the time to interview and ask coaches questions to better understand their needs and problems. I defined the problems and, through this process, I innovated and created a productâ€”Full Court Analytics. It is what I truly feel coaches want and need.
Final Insights: The Institute and Program Push Students to Innovate
Without the sports management program at IUPUI, I would not have started my own business. And, I definitely would not have won the Audience Choice Award at JagStart 2020. This program and my mentor, David Pierce, Ph.D., have consistently given me opportunities to grow over my four years.
I have many friends who wonder if they chose the right college to spend their four years. With IUPUI and the sports management program, I know I made the right decision. Any prospective student who is interested in sports should know that they will not find a better group of professors to guide them into their sport careers than IUPUIâ€™s sports management program.
Lastly, I would like to thank the Sports Innovation Institute (SII) for all it has done to help allow me to be in the spot I am. For the past two years, the SII has given me, and so many other students, unique
and engaging opportunities to develop as a professional and build a resume. I worked on a variety of research and consulting projects with the Indianapolis Colts, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and both IU and IUPUI Athletics. These experiences put me in a position to excel as a student and young professional, positioning me to win the Audience Choice Award at JagStart 2020.