November 12th, 2012 | Filed under: Innovation, Motiv | No Comments »
Jim Harbaugh’s strong leadership resulted in a dramatic turnaround for the San Francisco 49ers in 2011.
Regardless of the organization, leaders play crucial roles in enabling success.
This element is especially evident in the sporting world. A head coach can come in and turn around a team from one season to the next, as Jim Harbaugh did by taking a 6-10 sub-par San Francisco 49er team in 2010 and turning it into a 13-3 powerhouse in 2011.
A head coach also creates the conditions for success in the long-term. Mike Krzyzewski took the Duke men’s basketball team to an astonishing 11 NCAA Final Four appearances in a 24 year stretch, with four tournament champion wins during that time, all with players that were never on the team for more than four years. (Compare that to just one Final Four appearance in the 10 years before Krzyzewski coached at Duke.)
While these are impressive achievements, what’s interesting is that each of these coaches learned from the best. At Michigan, Harbaugh played for the legendary Bo Schembechler, who coached the Wolverines for over 20 years. Harbaugh was even hired by Bill Walsh, creator of the innovative West Coast offense and winner of three Super Bowls, to be Stanford’s head coach. Krzyzewski both played for and coached under Bob Knight, the second winningest coach in college basketball and key innovator of the motion offense.
Like in sports, when it comes to innovation, an organization’s leaders are instrumental in fostering a culture of innovation that drives success. Development Dimensions International (DDI) just published a report titled Creating the Conditions for Sustainable Innovation based on surveys with over 1000 organizational leaders and non-leader employees. This report identifies several key findings of leadership issues that are detrimental to an organization’s innovation environment.
Here are some of the issues that I found most interesting:
Keep reading »
March 12th, 2012 | Filed under: Motiv | No Comments »
Billy Beane || Photo: Daily Beast/Taylor Richards Glenn
In the movie Moneyball, Brad Pitt plays the role of Billy Beane, the GM of the Oakland A’s baseball club who used non-traditional analysis (and a brainy Ivy League sidekick) to outwit his rivals. By systematically finding undervalued players—diamonds in the rough such as the “fat catcher” Jeremy Brown—Billy was able build a team that could compete with big money teams such as the Yankees at a fraction of the cost.
Nowadays, many pro sports teams are using principles of sports analytics, and the field continues to grow. There is no greater proof of the field’s growth than at the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, held last weekend in Boston. For a weekend in March, over 2,000 people—including GMs from pro sports teams, ESPN SportsCenter anchors and hundreds of sports geeks from places like MIT and Harvard—come together to discuss all the latest ways to use data in sports, from player performance to ticket pricing.
Due to a well-timed project with a client in the sports industry I was luckily able to attend the conference in the name of “research.” The fact that my favorite sports writer Bill Simmons (who refers to the conference as “Dork-a-palooza”) was in attendance, along with the GM, former coach and former shooting guard of my favorite basketball team was just a fortunate coincidence. In fact, Rockets GM Daryl Morey (an MIT Sloan alum) co-chairs the event and has written about his thoughts on analytics in the HBR blog.
Here are some of the innovation needs I noticed at the conference and indeed problems that we here at Motiv would love to help solve:
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October 31st, 2011 | Filed under: Motiv | 1 Comment »
Like Carl, I am also a sports fan. Specifically, I am dedicated to my hometown teams and particularly my darling Redskins, who I watch each Sunday almost religiously.
Imagine my delight when the Redskins recently launched an official fan club targeted at women: Women of Washington Redskins (WOW). Unveiled in August, this free club already boasts over 12,000 members. Via an interactive website and social media outlets, WOW provides access to exclusive interviews with the coaches and players, as well as fashion advice and health and wellness information. It even plans to host networking events to allow female Redskins fans connect with each other on a professional level.
There are so many promising prospects regarding female fandom that I’m surprised more women-oriented fan clubs don’t exist. In fact, the more I think about it, I don’t understand why more NFL teams haven’t yet tried to take advantage of the interest in football among women across the nation. To me, it looks like an obvious win-win situation for everyone involved.
Here are just a few reasons why I think that all teams should acknowledge and market to this traditionally underrepresented consumer segment:
1. The NFL benefits from having loyal fans
August 12th, 2011 | Filed under: Motiv | No Comments »
This week we tweeted on innovation within sports, a field that I greatly enjoy following and would love to learn more about. These tweets were on the money(ball):
•Two young entrepreneurs out of USC have invented a revolutionary basketball shoe that adds 3 inches to your vertical leap. The bad news? The shoe was banned by the NBA. The good news? Sales have sky rocketed since they were banned. http://motv.st/ohPc1O
August 10th, 2011 | Filed under: Motiv | 4 Comments »
Public confession time: I am a sports freak. As many of my friends and colleagues know, I spend more time than I probably should watching, competing in and reading about sports. For an activity that is largely inconsequential to humanity, such an expenditure of time is admittedly hard to justify, but for once I have something to show for my efforts.
I just finished reading “Those Guys Have All The Fun,” a biographical history of the first 30 years of ESPN, the 24-hour a day sports entertainment juggernaut. The book – written entirely as a series of quotes – covers everything from its bootstrap early operations to its eventual domination of the market.
Those Guys Have All the Fun on Amazon
I took away the following lessons on innovation from the book: