Who is it for?

Your product, the thing you make or do. Who is it really for?

Watching the World Athletics Championships last week left me feeling that much of the time the product is made for the people who organise the event rather than the people who are paying to watch it or even the athletes who provide the entertainment.

Some examples:

1.     The final night had 5 track races and 2 field events spread over more than 2 hours. Plenty of time for everything to have undivided attention. And yet, the climax of the men’s high jump takes place during the women’s 5000m final. Where do you look as a spectator during the closing laps of the 5000m? What does live TV show? Why not pause the High Jump or jump during the early laps.

2.     Monday night had an utterly compelling women’s triple jump. Ibarguen (photo) and Rojas trading the lead several times and the competition going to the final round. But it was lost amongst all the other events. Why not shine a spotlight on the athletes – literally. Their choice of colour (and music even). Imagine Ibarguen blasting down the runway, hair trailing, in a blaze of bright light which follows her into the sky as she leaps for Gold.

3.     The call room. For non-athletes this is where the competitors assemble before their competition. At Championships this can be up to 40 minutes before the event starts. So it means you have to warm up, report to the call room, then sit around getting cold. Its part of athletics and as a developing athlete you learn to deal with this at English Schools, Regional and the National Championships so by the time you get to World/Olympic competition it is second nature. But it still has a negative impact on athlete performance – witness Bolt in the 4x100m tweaking his hamstring. Why do we do it? In the old days it was to give out numbers and lane assignments and generally to make sure that the athletes were there on time. But this is 2017 with professional athletes and electronic timing. There must be a better way that maximises athlete performance and hence customer enjoyment.

Athletics needs to take a long hard look at its product and ask who is it really made for – spectators, athletes or the organisers?

What about your product?

Call room insight - check out this excellent piece from former World Champion Dai Greene