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Cleveland Cavaliers Become First Major League Sports Team to Win Ideascale’s Innovation Management Award

June 11, 2020
City Edition

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been recognized by Ideascale, the leading crowdsourcing and innovation software provider, in their annual Innovation Management Awards in the category of Best Innovation Engagement Strategy. The Cavaliers are the first major league sports team to win the award.

The category recognizes the most creative and impressive engagement campaign to generate participation in an IdeaScale community. Executed by the Mousetrap team, whose focus is process improvement for the organization to “find a better way,” the Cavaliers exemplified this with a brainstorming campaign designed to gather ideas. Cavs employees (team members) were asked to submit ideas, or “cheese,” that would improve performance around primary organizational goals. Over 300 ideas were submitted, ranked and voted upon in a March Madness-style tournament format. As a result of the campaign, the Cavs:

  • Saw a 500% increase in the number of participants (over previous years)
  • Noted at least 25 different departments contributing and collaborating

The Cavs have already implemented 20% of submitted ideas with plans to implement more in the near future. Some winning ideas included flexible work hours, an automatic Outlook calendar update to show upcoming Cavs and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse events, and an augmented reality experience via the Cavs App.

“What I love about the Cleveland Cavaliers story,” said Rob Hoehn, CEO and Co-Founder of IdeaScale “is that they showed a true level of empathy with their crowd. They thought about messages that were already resonating with their audience and they found a unique way to parlay their innovation project into the language and methodology that already made sense to their team.”

Previous winners in the Best Innovation Engagement Strategy category over the years include Yale, US Coast Guard, Marriott Vacations Worldwide, Department of Labor, the City of Calgary, Dick's Sporting Goods, National Cancer Institute, and Queensland Police.

“We are so proud of this award and the hard work that went into this campaign by our entire organization,” said Kevin O’Toole, Cavaliers VP of business intelligence. “We strive to innovate, and this recognition proves that we are thinking outside the box on ways to engage and ‘find a better way.’”

The Cavaliers Mousetrap team is part of the Business Intelligence Group (BIG) led by O’Toole and is directed by Jack Carmichael, director of business process analysis; Andy Olsson, manager of business process analysis; and Aria Mirabile, business analyst.

Innovation Award winners receive a discount on their 2020 IdeaScale subscription, a VIP pass to IdeaScale’s Open Nation, and more. More detailed stories of past Innovation Management award winners can be found at


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