Director, Innovation Lab with Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA

Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena jobs
Sports Jobs in Atlanta, GA
Technical Services: Project Management
At the Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena, our team is changing the game when it comes to creating a memorable fan experience. As an organization, we rock a bold attitude that focuses on teamwork, authenticity, & innovation. The fans are our passion, and their positive experiences are what propel us to create a world class sports & live entertainment environment. We recognize that to create a great experience for our fans, it starts with creating a great culture for our employees. We work hard and run fast, yet we take the time to appreciate the details in the work we do and celebrate our successes. At the end of the day, we are a sports & live entertainment group that strives to do things a little differently and do them well. It also doesn’t hurt that we hold the keys to a brand-new world-class arena (State Farm Arena), an amazing brand, an exciting basketball organization and a wide variety of live events.

Over the last few years, the leadership of the Hawks and State Farm Arena have led a dynamic turnaround of the franchise, on and off the court. The ownership group led by Tony Ressler and Grant Hill set the focus on four key real estate development initiatives:  build a new practice facility; acquire a G-League franchise; renovate and open State Farm Arena; and redevelop downtown surrounding the Arena.  The Atlanta Hawks have made real progress on each of these four initiatives – entitling, breaking ground or completing each one.  The franchise now has the physical assets to grow over the next several years and pivot from being a developer to an operator of these expanded enterprises. 
As an operator, the team and arena encompass a broad range of individual businesses that need to work together to create an unparalleled guest experience – property manager, hospitality group, restaurateur, event promoter, parking operator, traffic coordinator, security provider, marketing partner, ticket seller, etc.  Every year, the Arena hosts 1.5 million visitors, serves enough food and drink to be one of the biggest restaurants in Atlanta, manages five separate parking lots across downtown, and produces a range of events from basketball, concerts, family shows to corporate conferences. Everything we do as organization centers on purpose:to serve our guests by creating memorable experiences.
As the broader organization focuses on operations and continuous improvement, the Innovation Lab will focus on identifying opportunities for radical innovation across our guest experience, employee experience, or in adjacent/ new markets. An environment with no limitations, the Innovation Lab will focus on be transformative for our organization. 

        Key Responsibilities 

The Innovation Lab (IL) will consist of a group of cross departmental team members that formally meet once a week. Reporting to the Vice President of Guest Experience, the Director, Innovation Lab (DIL) will be a critical leader and facilitator of the IL and will be responsible for keeping the work moving between IL work sessions. The DIL must be a strategic/critical thinker, must have project management skills, and be capable of rapidly building prototypes that can be tested with guests. This individual must be capable of working collaboratively and influencing without direct authority.
Specifically, the DIL will be responsible for the following: 
  • Conduct cross industry research to identify new business/product opportunities, trends, and best practices
  • Conduct research/focus groups with customers to identify opportunities
  • Regularly review and analyze guest survey data, bringing a data driven mindset to innovation 
  • Dive deep to fully understand our business to identify the right customer problems
  • Facilitating ideation sessions; implementing design thinking principles to arrive at disruptive/ transformative ideas
  • Leading rapid innovation sprints, driving from idea to prototype in 5 days
  • Executing pilots with live users, leveraging the scientific method to test hypothesis and generate validated learnings
  • Responsible for keeping the work moving, in between Innovation Lab work sessions
  • Build businesses cases and present opportunities to senior leadership
  • Be a curious, creative, dynamic leader helping to drive innovation, transforming the Hawks & State Farm Arena into a model for other organizations to follow

    Professional Experience, Qualifications and Education

  • A Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree preferred
  • 5+ years of experience across multiple industries or experience in consulting/agencies
  • Possesses project management skills in order to keep project team on track, on time, and on budget
  • Experience with design thinking and facilitation
  • Basic or advanced coding skills with the ability to rapidly build a prototype using tools such as Balsamiq, Mockplus, Axure RP
  • A customer obsessed individual, that works vigorously to understand guest needs and develop products or businesses that meet those needs
  • A curious learning machine – a willingness to dive deep into new domains and the unknown. 
  • A bias for action, with the ability to work in ambiguous and changing environments with little direction or information
  • Able to manage failure and expectations, deriving learnings from every initiative 
  • Ability to collaborate with various departments and build strong relationships. Excellent communication skills with the ability to influence others to drive change
  • Must be able to work non-traditional hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. 

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