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Let's build

Our head of talent development pathways blogs about the challenge of tackling inequalities and why it will take collaboration to do it effectively.

14th March 2022

by Hannibal Morris
Head of talent development pathways, Sport England

“Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no-one else can see.”

That’s a quote from a philosopher called Arthur Schopenhaur – it’s what I had in my head at the time of writing this blog post.

Tackling inequalities in sport and physical activity, is at the heart of our strategy – Uniting the Movement.

I’m going to level with you… this is not a problem that can be ‘solved’.

Paralympic cycling and athletics champion Kadeena Cox, rides with members of her KC Academy, funded by the Rapha Foundation

Wait, what?! (I hear you think). Bear with me, let me try and explain…

I’m simplifying a little bit, but according to the research, there are two kinds of problems: Wicked or Tame.

Tame problems are known problems with known solutions – they can be solved by choosing and applying the correct algorithm. For example – let’s say you’re baking a cake and the recipe says it serves four people, if you want your cake to serve forty people, multiplying the ingredients and changing the logistics is a tame problem (yup, that’s a big cake).

Wicked problems on the other hand are complex problems that hold a multitude of other problems within them. There is no known solution, they must be accepted and adapted to, rather than overcome. A revealing characteristic of wicked problems is that the more you attempt a solution, the more the problem reveals itself to you.

The advantage to tackling wicked problems is to know that there will likely be no complete solution. So instead of trying to solve it, form a team to design the future.

Building the future of sport will take all of us – creators, builders, futurists, disruptors, makers, doers, if you’re reading this, we need you – there’s never been a more exciting time to build at the intersection of sport and culture.

And that’s what this blog post is all about – a call to action… let's build together.

I’m going to level with you… this is not a problem that can be ‘solved’.

As the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games came to a close yesterday, now feels like a good time to let you know that slightly closer to home, a familiar Paralympic champion is living proof that this concept is the way forward, she is building something with one thing in mind – the future.

Kadeena Cox has teamed up with cycling clothing brand Rapha and their charitable foundation to help bring diversity to elite cycling by launching the KC Academy.

The KC Academy is expanding in 2022 and will offer an additional four places to support individuals that have the desire and aptitude to explore their potential in the sport of cycling.

Alongside our amazing partners SportsAid and British Cycling, we are supporting, exploring, and building the future with Kadeena and her team.

There are two athlete recruitment days coming up for the KC Academy – you which you can find more information about here.

And I just remembered that Kadeena also won BBC One’s Celebrity MasterChef 2021 so if anyone does need a cake for forty people, just let me know and I’ll see what I can do!

I began this blog trying to describe the nature of ‘genius’ and as the late genius Virgil Abloh put it, “correcting systemic inequalities isn’t a hostile takeover, it can be engaging, fun and yield more profits”.

As we move forward with implementing the Uniting the Movement strategy, maybe one of you reading this blog can hit a target that we can’t see… I hope you can. Let’s build together!

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