Taking inspiration from other fields
Perhaps one of the most visible examples of technology and innovation as a driving force in the modern game is the jersey. Premiership Rugby fans of a certain age will no doubt remember the baggy, long-sleeve, collared cotton shirts that were worn by most teams (amateur and professional) up until the early 2000s. Though hard-wearing, this kit could be easily grabbed hold of by opposition players and the absorbent fabric would weigh considerably more when wet.
Today’s players take to the pitch in tightly-fitted polyester jerseys that are much harder to grab hold of. The original designs were modelled on shirts worn by football players and have been developed further to include high-tech features such as GPS units between the shoulder blades and rubberised areas around the front and shoulders that help players clamp the ball to their chest with one hand*.
As the sport has become more demanding, rugby has had to take inspiration from other sports and industries, including the worlds of engineering and science as well as medicine and biology. At Loughborough University, researchers have used physical tissue to examine injury recovery times.
"We apply a lot of technology from engineering and science to sport, mainly around the more physical aspects of sport, to make the game safer."
A similar sharing of ideas is taking place in business as well. Today, large businesses in search of productivity and efficiency, often redesign working processes to apply the principle of ‘agile working’ - the methodology that originally took root in San Francisco’s start-up culture before it became an international phenomenon. In rugby as in business, the best ideas are often borrowed from other areas.
How your business can benefit
What’s the lesson for business? Creativity often comes from mixing different ideas. Businesses should break down silos internally to encourage collaboration across different teams. And, they shouldn’t be afraid to look outside of their industry and sector for inspiration.
Our latest thought leadership examines exactly how science and human ingenuity together create digital success.
Read it here