Using the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 as a springboard to overcome barriers through youth innovation and technology, Panasonic launched the ambitious SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS ideathon in 2019. After several rounds of selection, the much-anticipated public demonstration of the finalists’ projects was held at Panasonic Center Tokyo on August 23, 2021. Let’s dive into the story behind SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS and how Panasonic hopes for it to contribute to bettering the Games and society at large.
Going Beyond Barriers
SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS was launched by Panasonic in 2019 to encourage young people to freely innovate without the fear of failure and judgement. Students from the forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games host countries of Japan, China, France, and the United States were brought together under the theme of “GOING BEYOND BARRIERS'' to develop their own ideas to break down barriers in sports with technology. These barriers could be anything, including cultural, physical, linguistic, and educational barriers.
On August 23, after several qualifying rounds of presentations, the finalists from each region presented their innovative solutions for overcoming their chosen barriers to the public for the first time.
Idea of Team China: An intelligent tandem e-bike that can help to make cross-cultural communication easier and record precious memories in a special way.
Idea of Team USA: A headset which visualizes the atmosphere of the venue to let people with hearing impairments feel immersed in sports.
Idea of Team Europe: An APP to translate the gestures of the referee to let everyone understand all the sports.
Idea of Team Japan: A "Park" where children can experience the movements of athletes with playground equipment.
Afterwards, they got the opportunity to show their solutions to the advisors, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
Appealing to the Next Generation of Leaders
Feeling that Panasonic was being increasingly left behind by younger generations, the Panasonic team sought to design a program with authentic youth appeal to foster a new audience for the future. Believing that young people hold the key to solving many of society’s current issues, they devised SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS as a space where young people can lead and create from the heart to spark innovation, education, and inclusion. Being one of the world’s most universal events, Panasonic felt there was no better time to launch SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS than during Tokyo 2020.
Coming Together to Solve Problems and Make Change
Much of the growing generational dissonance seen in the modern world can be attributed to the voices of young people being drowned out by older, more established generations. By giving the ideas of young people respect and by providing young people with the tools they need to carry those ideas out, Panasonic believes that a more prosperous and inclusive world will ensue.
Panasonic hopes the SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS ideathon achieves just that, giving young people a voice while also showing their go-getting attitudes to inspire the world. Panasonic's SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS strives to provide educational opportunities to the youth of the world while, at the same time, showing them that their thoughts and ideas are highly valued.
Striving Together for a Better Future
Featuring the highly-anticipated unveiling of the finalists' ideas, Panasonic’s SPORTS CHANGE MAKERS was an event to remember. With online AR capabilities, even those outside Japan were welcome to join in. It was an exciting opportunity to see just what kind of revolutionary ideas today’s youth have come up with to combat societal issues and barriers in the world of sports.