November 2021, Articles

Innovation Research – tackling the big questions to advance performance

The High Performance Sport New Zealand [HPSNZ] Innovation team are preparing to delve deeper and uncover new levers to performance gains across multiple sports. Additional funding and resource are set to expand their work into research-focused innovation, and NSOs have a key role to play.

Simon Briscoe, Head of Innovation at HPSNZ explains that the new area of work is about finding answers that will have the greatest impact in helping sports and their athletes perform better.

“The innovation team will continue to work in partnership with NSOs to develop technical solutions and optimise the equipment athletes and coaches use – but there’s a new stream of work coming, and it means we’ll be working with our NSOs and athletes in new and different ways,” says Simon.

The team have developed a Research Funding Model which identifies the big performance based research questions we will look to answer, how they will be answered and how the research will be funded (e.g. partnerships such as the NZ Sports Foundation Charitable Trust). That is expected to be launched before the end of the year.

The initial phase will involve HPSNZ collaborating with NSOs to establish which innovation projects and research questions are important to them.

“We’ll be working in partnership to take a longer-term view, up to eight years ahead, to define a clear innovation strategy. We’re aiming to provide answers to performance questions and create knowledge that can be applied across multiple sports and a range of levels – from development to elite,” says Simon.

The discovery part of the process will provide a strategic overview of all the performance questions sports are asking. From there common questions will be grouped into themes and a project team of subject matter experts will create a roadmap that defines the relevant performance questions.

Farhan Tinwala, Research Manager for HPSNZ,  will lead this piece of innovation work dedicated to helping us all improve through research, where academic, scientific and industry partners will also play a key part bringing expertise where they can help solve our burning questions.

To find out more about this new area of HPSNZ’s work NSOs are encouraged to talk to their HPSNZ Performance Team Leader or contact Head of Innovation at HPSNZ Simon Briscoe on