To push itself forward, the National Football League (NFL) aims to embrace evolution while respecting tradition, Michelle McKenna-Doyle, the NFL’s senior vice president/chief information officer, told CO-OP Think 17 attendees in New York on Wednesday.
McKenna-Doyle shares seven ways the 96-year old organization innovates:
1. Make it everyone’s responsibility. Improving the game isn’t just up to the football people. The entire organization needs to be involved, including marketing and information technology.
2. Improve constantly. “We are paranoid. We constantly push ourselves,” she says. “Standing still or marking time is absolutely not an option.”
3. Embrace the future fan. “We have to replenish our fan base,” she says, so the NFL actively seeks out the younger, next generation of football fans.
4. Deepen relationships. The NFL used to categorize fans into two categories: avid and casual.
Now, it breaks those categories down further to understand how people interact with the NFL.
5. See media trends. The way people consume content has changed in many ways, including the providers and platforms.
As a result, the NFL uses different avenues to provide content.
6. Collect more data. “We collect massive amounts of data on every player,” McKenna-Doyle says.
And the NFL is experimenting with using it to enhance different aspects of the game.
7. Enable fans to generate content. Professionally produced content is great, but fans love content from other fans, she says.
Therefore, the NFL is trying to enable this content in ways that avoid licensing issues.
Even though people want change, it isn’t always easy, McKenna-Doyle says, especially for traditional organizations such as the NFL and credit unions.
In order to evolve, make sure you’ve mapped out your values, she says.
“You never let go of the tradition,” McKenna-Doyle says, “but you might deliver it in a slightly different way.”
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