ASTN and Melbourne Renegades launch open innovation program

Dr. Martin Schlegel, Director, Australian Sports Technologies Network

The Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN) has announced that Aussie sportstech startups will have the opportunity to pitch their tech to the Melbourne Renegades as part of a pilot opportunity in a new Open Innovation Pathway program facilitated by ASTN. The Melbourne Renegades will share three business challenges with participating startups that the Big Bash League team is looking to solve by piloting technology solutions or products.

What does the program mean for startups?

The startups will have the opportunity to validate, test and/or integrate their solution with a key sports brand in the Australian market. Many companies have intensified their search for new ideas; however, these ideas can fall victim to established processes within existing firms.

Linking startups with sporting firms offers the best of both worlds by combining ideas and an innovative problem-solution approach with an abundance of resources and access to markets and customers. As a recent ASTN Masterclass on Open Innovation uncovered, existing management processes, brand value, purchasing and human resources policies can create conflict when established organisations turn to founders in their quest for ideas.

What were the executives’ thoughts on the program?

Startups are wary of big firms stealing their idea. ASTN Director, Martin Schlegel says this is where a facilitated process, like the ASTN Open Innovation Pathway can help both sides.

“In a world where most of the knowledge exists outside the walls of any given firm, bringing in new ideas can give established organisations the opportunity to unearth the ‘next big thing’. On the other hand, many startups fail due to a lack of paying customers and therefore could greatly benefit from the existing channels of the large corporate,” commented Schlegel.

James Rosengarten, General Manager of Melbourne Renegades, outlined the opportunities for sporting clubs in implementing innovation solutions for business. “Our door is always open to discuss innovative solutions for what we’re trying to achieve as a club,” said Rosengarten.

“We’re proud to engage with the ASTN pathway program and see what we can learn from new products that are in market or due to launch across the country. Our brand is all about pushing the boundaries and this relationship with ASTN aligns with our values and growth.”

The Renegades and ASTN will soon seek expressions of interests from Australian startups interested in participating in the program. Further details about the business challenges will be made available by the end of June 2022 on the ASTN and Renegades’ websites.