Innovation Opportunities in Sport Management

Agile Business, Flash Teams, and Human-Centered Design


  • Larry Jinkins North Central College



Human-Centered Design, effective teams, innovation, organizational structures, rapid prototyping, higher education


The purpose of this article is to highlight the use of innovation sprints, flash teams, and inter-disciplinary collaboration in sport management programs that reduce the apparent proficiency gaps that exist between the expectations of industry and the college graduate. Companies in a variety of industries are using these tools to solve complex problems as the velocity of change and volume of data are increasing at a rate that makes constant innovation a necessity. However, higher education traditions and curricular silos appear to be causing graduates to fall further behind the needs of industry. Two innovation sprints have shown the ability to provide students with improved skills for industry while enhancing their understanding of sport management competencies through rapid prototyping, human-centered design, and flash teams. One innovation sprint involved a cross-campus collaborative experience. The second focused on a multi-college/university collaboration within sport management. Though both experiences produced better-than-expected results, the inter-disciplinary sprint may have produced a higher level of outputs. Furthermore, faculty and students alike appear to benefit from inter-disciplinary interactions as everyone learns more about each field represented and allows everyone to have an equal voice through a common lens. If sport management programs remain in their designated silo, their graduates may be falling further behind the expectation of employers. Previous literature suggests the benefits of innovative practices significantly enhance learning and drive creative problem-solving. Therefore, sport management programs may want to explore
using innovation sprints, flash teams, and inter-disciplinary collaboration practices as viable practices to enhance student learning outcomes.

Author Biography

Larry Jinkins, North Central College

Larry Jinkins, MS, an assistant professor and clinical coordinator for sport management in the School of Education and Health Science at North Central College. His research interests include interdisciplinary learning, innovation, leadership, and business strategies within the sports industry.


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