JAPAN FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

Business design for creating social value through sports

JYD (JFA Youth & Development Programme) was launched by the Japan Football Association (JFA, Japan’s governing body for association football/soccer) to promote continuous development and popularization of Japanese soccer, and to train the next generation of players. In an effort to expand the scope of the program and create business/marketing models for solving society’s challenges through soccer, BIOTOPE and JFA conducted co-creative workshops that crossed organizational divisions. We began to create an environment for creating social value by facilitating cooperation within the organization and exploring new business opportunities.

Point

Overcome vertical structures by facilitating visionary thinking across organizational divisions

Harness the passion of the individual to apply internal resources to social challenges, thus creating new business models

Combine several business concepts into one drawing (a vision map) to support cooperation with other companies

Business Development

Marketing

Workshop

Design Lab

Vision Design

Challenge

JYD currently has a strong focus on increasing revenue, and has become disconnected from its original purpose of strengthening soccer’s role in Japan through its popularization and fostering of new talent.

What BIOTOPE did

Created opportunities for staff to freely express their ideas and visions through co-creative workshops that crossed organizational divisions; and devised a strategy for increasing the potential value of JYD’s training and popularization efforts.

Result

Influenced the strategy formulation for JYD’s next phase (starting April 2019) through a visualization of JYD’s vision called The Future that JYD Wants to Create.

Hiroshi Nogami

Japan Football Association, Head of Marketing
Born in Toyama Prefecture in 1974. Undergraduate degree from Keio University Faculty of Business and Commerce. After finishing his graduate degree from Tokyo University Graduate School of Education’s Department of Physical and Health Education, he joined the office of the Japanese Organising Committee for FIFA’s 2002 World Cup, and took part in organizing the event. Joined the Japan Football Association the same year. Has organized numerous international events, and worked with marketing Japan’s national soccer team. As JFA’s head of marketing, he currently supervises the management of sponsorship and broadcasting rights, and their retail and licensing business. Holds an MBA from the University of Bath in the UK.

JYD was established to transform JFA’s revenue structure

 

The marketing department at JFA works on improving the value of the association’s main sources of revenue, such as partnerships, broadcasting rights, and our merchandise and licensing business. Currently, however, JFA is completely dependent on revenues relating to the national team, which account for 90% the total. Changing this situation is of imperative importance. In 2014, therefore, we began planning a marketing effort called JYD. The JYD program encompasses the marketing of a wide range of soccer events, such as university soccer, senior soccer, girl soccer, futsal, and beach soccer events. JYD thus includes the commercial rights to these events, and to the various efforts launched to popularize soccer in Japan and to foster new talent.

 

Stimulating a vertically structured organization

 

Since the JYD program was launched to create new revenue streams for JFA, it was mainly led by the marketing department, which centrally coordinated the operations of the other departments. While there is great commercial demand for soccer, our vertical structure was not conducive for new value creation. The program didn’t work well. This is when I heard about Saso and design thinking, which intrigued me. I thought BIOTOPE’s methods might be effective at stimulating our vertical mindset to change. After listening to a presentation by Saso and Kobayashi, I decided to launch the JYD Future Design Lab, a co-creation workshop that crosses organizational divisions.

 

Let everyone express and share their thoughts freely

 

Many people choose to work at JFA because its philosophy, vision or values resonate with them, so I think there is a relatively strong sense of loyalty towards the organization. On the other hand, passion and conviction of individual has also led to a certain lack of flexibility. Despite this, we managed to unite and work as a team at the JYD Future Design Lab under Kobayashi’s direction. Starting with the topic “Societal challenges and soccer”, we jointly discovered several opportunity spaces and translated them into specific business models. This eventually became a future vision, The Future that JYD Wants to Create. In the search for new value, I believe that an organization’s structure or culture counts for little without the individual’s passion and drive. The workshop successfully involved such passionate people in the co-creation process. I was surprised to see how many people in our organization are passionate about solving the challenges our sport faces; not because of their official position in the organization, but as individual fans of sports and soccer.

 

Revitalizing the organization and bringing out its latent potential

 

Through the JYD Future Design Lab we discovered a new way to accomplish JYD’s goal — promoting the popularization of soccer and training new talent — by using JFA’s resources to contribute in solving society’s problems. In total we held three co-creative and cross-departmental workshops. Our core team then analyzed and integrated the resulting ideas together with BIOTOPE and discussed an action plan. But I think these workshops had a deeper influence on us as well. More people took an interest in JYD, and I felt a change in not just each individual’s mindset, but in the organization as a whole. We have, however, not yet figured out how to connect these ideas to a strategy for growth.

 

Thoroughly examine and develop ideas to discover new value

 

The discussions in the JYD Future Design Lab covered a variety of ideas, such as expanding support for professional players, promoting soccer among the elderly and other groups for whom playing soccer is not a common activity, and capitalizing on these new efforts to acquire new sponsors. If we continue to develop these ideas, I believe that we can discover even more value in them. BIOTOPE summarized our vision for the future as a drawing. Everyone agrees with this vision; the rest depends on how far we are willing to go. Implementing it requires a budget and putting together a team, but our daily activities are also important. This balancing game is a dilemma.

 

The importance of getting outside support

 

Some companies have started to show an interest in JFA’s approach to solving societal challenges. The problems concerning club activities at Japanese schools have received much attention recently. The teachers that lead these activities are overburdened with work, and this can negatively affect their students. JYD might be able to use the resources of other organizations to provide solutions to such challenges. If the world of soccer takes the lead in offering solutions to the current problems facing school club activities, the approach might spread to other sports. If we can involve other companies in supporting club activities, I think these companies can gain new opportunities from interacting with high school students in new ways.

Did we create lasting change?

Several of the opportunity spaces resulting from the JYD Future Design Lab are slowly being recognized as strategic challenges by the organization as a whole. The vision map which summarizes JYD’s vision for the future, The Future that JYD Wants to Create, is being used to facilitate new collaborations, and the possibility of conducting a joint workshop with another company in collaboration with BIOTOPE is being discussed.

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PHILOSOPHY