University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business Announces Winners of Positive Business Project

ANN ARBOR, Mich.--()--The Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business has announced Newmind Group, Inc. and Team Detroit as the grand prize winners of the Positive Business Project. The Positive Business Project identified and showcased exceptional business leaders making a positive difference in the world. A team of University students coordinated the project and presented the awards at the school’s annual Positive Business Conference, May 14-15 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

"At Michigan Ross, our mission is to develop leaders who make a positive difference in the world,” said Alison Davis-Blake, dean of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “The Positive Business Project submissions we received exemplified just that—each organization showcased their unique practices and gave attendees real life examples of how positive business is benefiting their organizations, employees and communities."

Newmind Group, Inc. is an award-winning, IT-managed service provider specializing in cloud computing solutions. Based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Newmind Group began as a small, regional IT company in 2003. Since then they have grown to serve hundreds of businesses and educational institutions across the country. To fulfill their mission of using technology to make work more productive, profitable and enjoyable, they make decisions based on five main values: make new mistakes in the process of learning; make things better; rest and reflect; GSD (Get Stuff Done); and be experienced and forward thinking. Using these values to make decisions has made it easier to attract new talent and has also contributed to their 97 percent client retention rate. In addition, Newmind Group employees fill out a “Pure Survey” every year to evaluate one another on how well they represent those values as an input to their reward system. This practice has empowered employees and made them more adaptable and collaborative.

Team Detroit is an advertising agency recognized by Advertising Age as one of the 10 best agencies in 2011. Team Detroit founded the Positive Incentives Committee to improve employee engagement and ultimately increase performance. The committee introduced “You Earned It,” an online system that allows people to provide online recognition to anyone in the company and then redeem rewards. These rewards can be gift certificates, charitable donations or even rewards for other employees. You Earned It has given employees a forum to voice their appreciation in a very public way, which has enhanced the company culture. On average, Team Detroit has over 100 recognitions going into the system each day, and employee engagement with the system is over 80 percent.

The Positive Business Project sought submissions that exemplified how business practices can make a positive difference in the world while driving great bottom-line outcomes. Fifteen semi-finalists were reduced to 10 finalists, with two grand prize winners.

In addition to Newmind Group and Team Detroit, finalists were:

  • AE Works: focused on a triple bottom line—people, planet and profit—by learning how to recycle properly and organizing relationship-building activities for employees
  • City of Ballarat: highlighted the change in their leadership development programs to develop positive management approaches
  • Ford IT: featured workplace practices such as “If You Have a Minute Calls,” which are frequent, informal, unscripted updates to employees, and “Battle of the Hashtag,” an all-employee contest to improve engagement
  • General Motors: outlined the GM2020 initiative that allows employees to reimagine and co-create the way they work together
  • Knewton: presented quarterly hack days where Knerds (Knewton employees) get 48 hours to work on passion projects
  • Menlo Innovations: defined their joyful culture, including practices like working two employees to one computer and allowing pets and babies to come to work
  • Ozone House Youth and Family Services: highlighted the Sunshine Committee, which organizes fun, impromptu office events and ensures staff appreciation
  • United Way for Southeastern Michigan: described their commitment to human-centered design, such as inviting students from Detroit to reimagine their educational experience by having fun and innovating

About Michigan Ross

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan is a vibrant and distinctive learning community grounded in the principle that business can be an extraordinary vehicle for positive change in today's dynamic global economy. The Ross School of Business mission is to develop leaders who make a positive difference in the world. Through thought and action, members of the Ross community drive change and innovation that improves business and society.

About the Center for Positive Organizations

The Center for Positive Organizations, based at the Ross School of Business, is a world-class research center that brings transformational research to students and leaders through articles, books, events, tools, teaching, and organizational partnerships.

Since 2002, the Center has been the hub of research on Positive Organizational Scholarship. Our domains of research are Positive Leadership, Meaning and Purpose, Ethics and Virtues, Relationships and Culture in an organizational setting. In 2010, The Academy of Management presented the Center for Positive Organizations with the Joanne Martin Trailblazer Award for opening up a new field of inquiry in management science. In 2012, The Academy presented the Center with the Research Center Impact Award in recognition of its extensive influence on management practices.

Our mission is to inspire and enable leaders to build high-performing organizations that bring out the best in people. We are a catalyst for the creation and growth of positive organizations.


Version 2.0 Communications
Katelyn Holbrook, 617-426-2222

Release Summary

The Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business announced Newmind Group, Inc. and Team Detroit as the grand prize winners of the Positive Business Project


Version 2.0 Communications
Katelyn Holbrook, 617-426-2222