The winners of the Dojo Explore award 2023 were fully immersed in the world of sports and entertainment for a week-long whistlestop tour of New York City. The award recognises hard work, personal development and an embodiment of our company values: Integrity, Discipline, Dynamism and Empathy.
Now the explorers are back on respective home turf, Melbourne & London, we caught up with George & James to share their highlights.
What key insights did you gain that you think could positively impact our company culture?
George: Exposure to the US sports market affirmed to me that there is so much to learn about our industry – key lessons to positively impact company culture: every now and then, it’s important to step outside your bubble; maintain a beginner’s mindset; never stop learning from other markets and how things can be done differently.
Were there any unexpected lessons or takeaways from your trip? How could we integrate these into our work?
James: The statement, “You can’t claim to be a business at the forefront of innovation… and then open a PowerPoint presentation,” resonated strongly with me. During our meetings with the NBA and NYCFC, they showcased new and innovative platforms, including ones like DigiDeck, which were unfamiliar to me at the time. This served as a valuable lesson, highlighting that innovation can manifest in various forms within a business. It reinforced the notion that staying ahead in the realm of innovation requires openness to diverse and cutting-edge solutions beyond traditional ones.
Could you share an example of how the trip has influenced your approach to projects since coming back from NYC?
George: It might be a bit too soon to say and I wouldn’t say learnings have been put into practice just yet. I’ve definitely returned feeling much more open-minded and have grander ideas to use as recommendations and strategies for future projects. For example, dynamic ticket pricing isn’t currently adopted in Australian sport but is the norm in the US, so there could be an opportunity to bring that progressive approach across the pond and buck local trends.
One of our company values is dynamism, did you see any evidence of a modern approach that you haven’t seen outside the US market?
George: In the arenas and stadiums the use of innovative technology to improve customer experience is something I haven’t seen much of elsewhere, or at least at this level. For example, at the F&B outlets customers can scan their credit card at a turnstile and shop in a ‘grab and go’ manor. Thanks to AI powered cameras they’re able to track the customers in the space, detect the items they picked up, and complete the purchase as they leave.
Discipline is another value that’s important to us, could you share an example of a disciplined approach to work that you think we could learn from?
James: I was truly impressed by the efficiency of the operations within the Brooklyn Nets membership teams, especially their commitment to consistently reaching out to members through personal calls to encourage game attendance and gather feedback. The strategic utilisation of ticketing data stood out as well, allowing them to identify fans who haven’t attended in a while and ensuring a personalized experience by visiting them at their seat. This level of discipline and focus on fan engagement serves as a notable inspiration.
With the business meetings done and fun to be had, what was your pinch-me moment?
James: During our meeting with the NBA, there was a casual comment made as we toured the office, pointing to a specific space and saying, “Oh, that’s Adam’s office down there,” in reference to CEO Adam Silver’s office. I had to control myself from going to see if he was actually in there!
George: Sitting 5th row at the Boston Celtics vs Brooklyn Nets NBA game at the Barclays Center, wearing Nets merch that was given to us during our industry meeting with BSE Global a few days earlier. That’s pretty special.
What advice would you give to future DOJO winners?
George: Take a few pens with you for note-taking. I took so many notes, my pen ran out halfway through a meeting. Most importantly, be in the moment as much as possible. You’ll have such an amazing time that it will fly by and all be over before you know it.
James: It’s such a great opportunity to be inspired, geek out on aspects of sport, ask questions of people you’d likely not get to meet … don’t hold back is my advice. Ask that question and be present every day.
A special thank you to our clients and industry friends who made this trip possible. Until next year!