What an exciting day! Being among the winners of the CeBIT Innovation Award 2013 and receiving the “bronze medal” from the German Secretary of Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, for our concept “Next Generation Fashion Store” is indeed an overwhelming experience. The project illustrates very well that IT is gaining more and more importance in business as it can make a real difference when it comes to competitive advantage.
Tag Archives: innovation
I remember being inspired to run when I watched the great Track & Field athletes at the 72 Munich Olympics. My first pair of running shoes was the SL72, and my first track spike the adidas Apollo, so I’ve been running for 40+ years and witnessed some great athletic achievements.
In 1988 I joined adidas, turning my passion for running into business. This was the same year the adidas brand launched Torsion. While the original concept had some issues, the idea of Torsion, in combination with foam, has informed how running shoes are built up until today. But in all my years of running I’ve never experienced, or witnessed anything quite like our latest innovation – Boost. From the first time I stepped into the shoes, I knew we had something truly remarkable, that this is a “Game Changer”, in our industry!
It’s that moment in the last minute of the game when you realize the vital through ball will succeed and you will score – no matter what. It’s the moment when you resolutely turn in a completely new and surprising direction. It’s the moment when you hold your breath because of all the excitement. These are the few but powerful situations which have the potential to fundamentally change the game. adidas has in its history experienced a couple of these special moments, too. Most often they have been triggered by the innovative spirit Adi Dassler anchored in the DNA of our brand and which Bernd Wahler, Head of Innovation at adidas, also described in his recently published interview.
In the last years I have investigated quite extensively adidas’ history for the history book ‘The story as told by those who have lived and are living it’. Based on this knowledge, let me share what I feel some of the most important and game-changing moments in our history were.
“The art of innovation is to anticipate what consumers can’t articulate yet”
Back in the days, common football player’s opinion was that a boot mainly needed to protect you from the opponents’ tackles and the impact of kicking the ball. Adi Dassler was said to be an inventor and a lateral thinker more than anything else. He observed that a footballer was only in contact with the ball for maybe 90 seconds of the 90 minutes; the rest of the time he was running, so Adi Dassler reasoned that a footballer needed footwear as light as possible instead of heavy, clumsy leather boots. Apparently Adi Dassler didn’t care much about conventions. He had his own ideas and followed them, no matter what others said. When I recently read about this little anecdote in our history book I immediately thought that you can still feel Adi Dassler’s visionary and creative spirit here at adidas. But what makes an idea a successful innovation? What is our framework for innovation? My curiosity was piqued and I decided to ask Bernd Wahler, adidas Head of Innovation, for an interview. Here’s what I learned…
A couple of weeks ago, Alexis Olans and I attended the Sustainable Brands Conference in London. The conference is hosted by the Sustainable Brands organization, which is a learning, collaboration, and commerce community of over 50,000 sustainable business leaders from around the globe with the mission to empower more brands to prosper by leading the way to a better world.
In this framework, the adidas brand was invited to present at two sessions – Cultural Differences in Effectively Driving Sustainable Innovation, and Sustainability, Brands & the Olympics. Both sessions used a forum set-up where a group of 3-4 panelists across different brands gave short intro presentations on how their brand had experienced the topic, and then opened up the floor to questions and discussion with the audience. This open forum approach was widely appreciated by attendees, as they were able to openly brainstorm with colleagues on how similar initiatives would work within their own business formats.