A Hot Kommodity: NBA we see you!

In order to create a successful environment of innovation, diversity is essential. The National Basketball Association (NBA), is taking some tiny baby steps toward doing just that. The NBA chief innovation officer, Amy Books has formed a committee to analyze new potential initiatives for the league. These committee members are to include a combination of business and basketball operations in the organization- mostly general managers and executive leadership. On a basic level, Brooks wants the game to stop talking the talk, and walk the walk. The world of sports itself is becoming such a fast-paced rat race to the next big thing. And if the NBA doesn’t pool its resources, cut the middle men, and keep up with the insatiable appetites of its fan base they are bound to lose traction.

            What makes this committee stand out from others is its diverse group of individuals. Pulling groups from various areas of the organization that have never had the opportunity to bounce ideas off one another is innovation 1-0-1. Brooks states that for success, “collaboration across the league and teams is key to drive innovation” (Lombardo, 2017). This isn’t the first time the NBA has tried this diverse approach to build successful initiatives. In 2016, a collective bargaining committee of team presidents was constructed by Adam Silver. Although the details or agenda of this new committee have not been made public (their first meeting was held December 5th), it’s clear that Brooks is following in Silver’s footsteps and learning some tricks from his previous committees.

            I have been following the business dealings of the NBA for some time now since developing my interest in sports events and marketing, and I can say that though the NBA is a completely established and brilliant organization, it does not compare to worldly reach and level of some other sports leagues in the business (FIFA and the NFL to be specific). However, I am still incredibly excited for the future of basketball. Specifically, the NBA Tech Summit coming up in February in New Orleans. There is so much that can be done in the game of basketball that connects fans, coaches, players, and athletic trainers. I recently attended a lecture with Lara Price and Andy Speiser of the Philadelphia 76ers. They spoke about the incredible technology they use at the new 76ers Training Complex in Camden, NJ to improve the lifestyle, diet, and overall training regimes for their players. If all of the teams aren’t using technology like this to their advantage, then this needs to be addressed. I would love to see the committee produce some innovations in technology like this.

            After reading this article in the Sport Business Journal, expectations still don’t seem very clear as to the outcomes that Brooks is searching for from establishing this group of individuals. It’s a great change of pace, and I am excited to see what may come from this, however it all seems very vague. I think it’s important to note that bringing these folks in with a like-minded goal can help mesh and mingle the different priorities that these groups have historically had. In the end, everyone wants to grow, and everyone wants to make the business more money. Now in a few months when it comes out that all this committee has been up to is chats about who has a better point guard over coffee and donuts, then I can’t say I would be surprised. I can only hope for the best for Amy Brooks and her new innovative dream team!