Day 9 – I: Innovation

“Our vision is a research and development team rooted in collaboration, openness and respect—where everyone works together at every stage from concept to delivery. To create game changing innovations which create new experiences and measurable benefits for you.”
Steve Vincent, Global Head of Innovation, adidas

Started as a family business in Herzogenaurach, Germany in the 1920s, adidas truly epitomises innovation. Sports enthusiasts have now become accustomed to expect a new range of innovative products, the launch of whom is often linked to a major sporting event. It does seem that when it comes to launching new innovative products it is truly a case of “Impossible is Nothing” for adidas.

A case in point is the Football Boot. I distinctly remember my ‘black’ boots which were almost always bought from the ‘Maidan Market’ (a place where small vendors sell all kinds of sporting gears) in Kolkata. The Maidan Market is an iconic place in the city and most people who played any form of sport and who could not afford to explore their sporting gears in the air-conditioned sports shops (not that there were many when we were playing) used to frequent the shops in the market to get their stuff. The boots used to be heavy and got heavier when mud got stuck to them affectionately during the monsoon months.

Long after I had hung my boots, I came across a pair of adidas boots in a sports shop in UK which seemed remarkably light. On enquiry, I was told that it weighed around 200 grams and that the studs are positioned in such a manner that the player gets optimum grip while not letting mud get stuck under them! To my amazement the friendly salesman predicted that football boots would get lighter. I fondly remembered his prediction when adidas launched the 165 gram F50 adiZero prior to the 2010 World Cup.

3 years on, F50 99g was unveiled and it weighed at 99gms!!! It is approximately equivalent to the weight of two standard pens and is lighter than an iPhone5! Now that is innovation!

Didn’t we say “Impossible is nothing”.

The topic for tomorrow’s post is just-in-time Knowledge Management.

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