Hi Luca, ZedZdeD, Philip and PG,
Thanks for contributing to this forum thread. As you mention Luca, stepping outside of our windsurfing world is often a great way to find new innovative ways to market our sport. Innovation doesn’t have to be limited to board design; the marketing of our sport also has plenty of room for Innovation Quality.
Our presentation did include some examples of what we have done to contribute to the Growth Strategy, but the Growth Strategy’s key message isn’t actually about the details themselves – it was more about needing to first change a fundamental concept.
In the past, there has been no shortage of excellent ideas. In this thread alone, you’ve all mentioned examples of great ideas: the Kona class, simplifying equipment, horizontal integration, the yachting public. These ideas and more have been executed and implemented in the past. But we have yet to see a tangible change in the popularity of our sport. We are talking growing our sport by at least a multiple of two. So if past ideas have been great, why is it that the result is unfortunately not yet here today?
To have a chance of succeeding in the future with a new Growth Strategy, what we need is to first make a fundamental change in the way we work together. We need to understand why past ideas have failed to significantly grow our sport; then we can make the right change for our new strategy.
Imagine this simple illustration: a group of one hundred paddlers on a lake. Under the water, they are linked by ropes. As every paddler paddles in his favourite direction, the group will have trouble to move in one direction. A lot of energy is wasted as most energy is used to try to pull other paddlers in opposing directions. The end result is a group that is tired, but a group that is still in the same place.
For the group to move efficiently towards their destination, all the paddlers should first agree on the best direction, then make sacrifices to change their direction and align themselves with each other.
With one hundred paddlers now paddling in the same direction, the group moves forwards and reaches their goal. This is the fundamental message. We need to each understand and accept this first.
The direction: we’d like to focus on making windsurfing social, easy and convenient for everyone.
Why could this be the optimum direction? It comes from a pattern we found by making a basic survey. We did a survey to find out the reasons why people didn’t windsurf. This includes people who already know how to windsurf, people whose friends windsurf but they choose not to, and also people who vaguely knew about windsurfing. We also did a survey to find out how we addict windsurfers started windsurfing in the first place.
There were many responses, and all very good ones. What was exciting was the clear pattern we found: the majority of people didn’t start windsurfing (or stopped windsurfing) because windsurfing was inconvenient. It was difficult and because we lost the friends and family contact. The other very interesting pattern we found was that the majority of today’s addict windsurfers also learnt from their friends or from their Dad. Back then, our friends and our Dads had big boards we could learn on. Today, our generation has no chance to teach someone new how to windsurf - we own tiny slalom boards and tiny wave boards. Essentially, we’ve cut off the biggest natural pipeline of new windsurfers.
Try this basic survey for yourself and it’s exciting to see this pattern emerge. Even if you just imagine yourself, your closest windsurfing friends and your closest non-windsurfing friends, this pattern should already emerge. It’s fascinating.
Hence, one could argue that the optimum, most efficient direction to focus our collective efforts is in making windsurfing social, convenient and easy for everyone. This includes, most importantly, rebuilding the friends and family connection. Some of the examples above and some past examples are already in line with this direction, which is perfect. Some other ideas, good ones at that, are not. They may need to be tweaked to align themselves, they may need to be eliminated altogether.
So as you can imagine, there are many more issues to discuss and iron out; what happens to ideas that are not along these lines? Where do we find the resources to do all this? What about the high performance market? And so on. There is much to discuss, even more to execute and implement, but it all starts here and it’s up to each and every one of us to do our part in our area.
Thanks again for your contribution and I hope you guys will continue to find interest in the Growth Strategy. If you’d like to dig a little deeper, feel free to visit our Growth Strategy forum: www.starboardgrowthstrategy.com
. The password is ‘growthstrategy’. This is a forum we created last month for our network and a place where we are presenting our next steps. I hope that putting this access here will be ok. Let’s see how it goes.