How a 73 year old organization wins at innovation

The companies that win at innovation and successfully scale emerging technologies are the ones that experiment early and know which signs of growth to look at. The National Basketball Association might be a 73 year old organization, it is definitely this type of company.

Having worked closely with NBA at Twitter, not only were they one of the first sports league globally to fully embrace the power of real time public conversation for their audience engagement, they also understood quickly that it would grow the fandom of each team, allow players to express their personalities off the court, extend the reach of their TV broadcast as well as increase the value of sponsorship for their brand partners.

The NBA as also been an early partner of NextVR. With less than 1% of basketball fans globally ever setting foot in an NBA arena, the league turned to technology for ways to replicate the unique court-side experience.

Here is what I have seen them do over the last 4 years working in partnership with the NBA:

  • The relentless appetite to innovate comes from the top. This helps identify trends early and permission to experiment.
  • Everyone comes to new opportunity with an open mind and is willing to let the partner (in my case Twitter and NextVR) guide the project with their expertise.
    The NBA sets the standards and the direction they are looking for in the partnership and then they get out of the way allowing the experts to do their best job.
  • Once the model works, they scale quickly.
  • Finally, once the program is scaling, collaborative creative thinking brings new idea to constantly evolve new products.

Hear more about the NBA innovation philosophy from Adam Silver the NBA commissioner himself at the AT&T Shape conference which took place on June 23 2019.

Marie Sornin