How will the so-called beautiful game of global football be different in a world where sport itself, and the culture of the fans who love it, is altered by the rush of data, quantification, analytics and digital delivery? What might a high-stakes match of the near future be like when every move is measured, and every tactic forecast by silicon? What will the technologically savvy supporter and the lifelong fan alike experience differently when Big Data takes on the game?
Winning Formula, is project by Near Future Laboratory which takes the form of a newspaper sports section from the near future, explores these questions and some of the more unreal features of data-driven football future. It touches on more easily seen aspects of performance analytics, and new ways to depict and consume football in media, but also explores future possibilities hiding just below the surface, possible phenomena such as data manipulation as a kind of doping, the impacts of high-frequency sport betting, or politics related to data-based services like media, measurement and reporting. More in a full interview about the project in Commentary and the background story written by Scott Smith.
This hypothetical daily European tabloid called 'Today' is an exemplar of the way we use research, narrative and design to create an engaging perspective on a provocative yet plausible near future world that need not result in either. Unlike a PowerPoint deck or corporate white paper, the mundane form of a disposable daily newspaper puts into the hands of everybody a possible day in the future when data, both large and small, alters some aspects of a cultural touchpoint like sports. Here is a sample of the implications of the intensifying relationship between football and data that the newspaper highlights:
Winning Formula is an international, transdisciplinary effort stretching from Europe, South America to the US. It was conceived and directed by Fabien Girardin of Near Future Laboratory in tight collaboration with futurists Scott Smith (Changeist) and Philippe Gargov (Seeklup). It was designed with Bestiario (Andrés Ortiz, Julian Jaramillo and Paola Avellaneda).
Fabien Girardin is a researcher, engineer, co-founder of the Near Future Laboratory a thinking, making, design, development and research organization speculating on the near future possibilities for digital worlds. He is active in the domains of user experience and data science. Inspired by his youth as sport journalist wannabe, he created and directed the project.
Scott Smith is the founder of Changeist, a lab, research tank and studio created to identify and make sense of weak signals of change. He has over a decade of experiences as a futurist, working with global organizations to navigate complexity. A hardened football tourist, Scott developed many of the high level technological, political and economic narratives for this project.
Philippe Gargov is a geographer, founder of Seeklup, a foresight agency that explores among other things the mutations of urban spaces. He contributed to this project with many of the low level implications of the use of data on the evolution of tactics and the overall language to describe the game; topics he also covers in his blogs Football Totalitaire and the magazine Les Cahiers du Football.
Bestiario is Barcelona based design studio dedicated to data dynamic representation and to the creation of digital spaces for the collective creation of knowledge. They 'make the complex comprehensible.' Their practice combines art and science to design and create interactive information spaces. Andrés Ortiz, Julian Jaramillo and Paola Avellaneda produced the design and graphics of the project.
A project commissioned and produced by FutureEverything, National Football Museum, Centre for Contemporary Culture Barcelona – CCCB, and Fundación Telefónica, supported by ECAS, a European Commission Culture Fund project and MEDIAPRO.
FutureEverything is an internationally recognised R&D hub for digital culture, presenting industry conferences, innovation projects, artworks and live experiences which showcase a digital future. For almost twenty years FutureEverything has been at the heart of the digital debate, inspiring thinkers, city makers, developers, coders, artists and musicians to experiment and collaborate.
The National Football Museum exists to explain how and why football has become ‘the people’s game’, a key part of England’s heritage and way of life. It also aims to explain why England is the home of football, the birthplace of the world’s most popular sport. NFM aims to be the first point of contact with football for non-fans and an introduction to wider aspects of culture and history for football fans.
The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona organizes and produces exhibitions, debates, festivals and concerts, programmes film cycles, courses and lectures, and encourages creation using new technologies and languages. It promotes artistic research in fields such as multimedia, backs research into exhibition formats.
Fundación Telefónica is channeling Grupo Telefónica's social and cultural initiatives in all countries where it is present. This is how the company interacts with society and contributes to building the future contributubg to the educational, social and cultural development of the communities of which they are part.
Near Future Laboratory is a thinking, making, design, development and research practice based in California and Europe.
Our goal is to understand how imaginations and hypothesis become materialized to swerve the present into new, more habitable near future worlds. Our practice involves working closely with creative, thoughtful experts within various domains of work depending on the needs of any particular project. Our associations with a wide network of well-respected and accomplished practitioners makes it possible to work from concept development to construction of unique digital designs.