Cheese Madness and the 2020 Innovation Award Winner The Cleveland Cavaliers

Basketball falling through a net.

The IdeaScale 2020 Innovation Management Awards recognized outstanding innovations in three categories. These are: best engagement, process, and implementation. The deadline for submissions was April of this year, and the winners were announced in May.

About the Award Categories

The best engagement strategy was awarded to the company that demonstrated high levels of engagement. This was done using creative methods that led to success.

The award for best innovation process was given to the community that demonstrated the most effective processes for idea evaluation and refinement. These methods also promoted efficiency.

The best innovation award focused on a new product, process, shift in thinking, or market emphasis. It went to the community that brought the most impactful or surprising idea to life.

Winners received:

  • 5% discount for the winning community on their 2020 subscription
  • An Apple Watch
  • Promotional PR Packet
  • A VIP pass to IdeaScale’s 2020 Open Nation Conference

Featured Winner

The Cleveland Cavaliers were one of the winners of the 2020 Innovation Management Awards. Recognized for their annual challenge called Cheese Madness, they found an innovative way to re-invigorate interest around March Madness.

In 2016, the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse formed a team to work toward continuous improvement in organizational performance. Key areas included:

  • Workplace collaboration
  • Team member experience
  • Fan development
  • Civic leadership

These were only a few targeted areas. The goal of the initiative was to gather recommendations and ideas from the frontlines.

Group of colleagues meeting around a table.

Their Community

The Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse team, home of the Cavaliers, created a crowdsourced community to gather ideas from without as well as within. Called the innoGRATE[R], this community was a place where people could share good ideas.

The rest of the community could then research, vote on, support, and refine the ideas that would add the most value. The submission process, however, was a little different than in other communities.

Rather than submitting “ideas,” members submitted “cheese.” Each piece of cheese represented an idea.

Several of those ideas were implemented as a result. Then, in recognition of March Madness, the innovation team for the Cleveland Cavaliers introduced a new challenge into the mix called “Cheese Madness.”

Using this initiative, the Cleveland Cavaliers were able to:

  • Increase participation by 500%
  • Engage leadership as part of the outreach
  • Encourage innovation competition through daily reports
  • And much more!

How the Team Was Born

The innovation team was created to serve as the eyes and ears of the organization. Their main goal was to work closely with subject matter experts of the Cavaliers to become innovative leaders. These efforts would also improve office efficiency.

The team became known as the Cavaliers Mousetrap team and was a part of the business intelligence group. As Jack Carmichael, Director of Busines Process Analysis for the Cavaliers, stated, “We’re able to just take a look at it from an outside perspective and ask questions that aren’t accusatory.”

Team members could then submit their ideas, or “cheese,” to improve the performance of primary goals. This platform was very successful, with 20% of the ideas already in use and more on the way.

These include flexible work hours the day after an overnight event, limited meetings on these days, and an automatic Outlook calendar update to notify employees of upcoming events. The Mousetrap campaign was recognized by IdeaScale in the category of best innovation engagement strategy. This makes the Cavaliers the first major league team to win.

If you’d like to learn more, you can download and read our full Cleveland Cavaliers Case Study. Want to form your own innovation community where you can share and cultivate ideas?  Contact us today to request a demo.

Comments are closed.