Every other year, the Olympic Games incite and inspire both athletes and non-athletes around the world. Todd Saxton, an associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship with the IU Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis, looks at the games as a showcase of innovation and entrepreneurship.
"Innovation often comes at the pinnacle of performance -- from the most demanding and competitive user or customer pushing the envelope of performance,” said Saxton. “This inspiration can drive subsequent benefits to the rest of us, including recreational athletes and weekend warriors alike in the sporting arena."
From high jumper Dick Fosbury, who pioneered the "Fosbury Flop" in the 1968 Mexico Olympics, to swimmer David Berkoff’s underwater kick dubbed the "Berkoff Blast" 20 years ago, athletes experiment and sometimes land on innovations that change human possibility. Take the efforts of IU alumnus and Canadian high jumper Derek Drouin, Saxton notes, who recently changed his technique to jump even higher. Saxton said we can learn from, and be inspired by, these new techniques and methods from top competitors and companies to reach new levels ourselves.
“Where would we be without the Roger Bannisters of the world? As a medical student and runner, his experimentation with new training techniques like interval and lactate threshold training led to the first sub-4 minute mile. Entrepreneurship, innovation, and human achievement are inextricably linked -- both in sport and in business,” said Saxton, who has completed multiple Ironman events.