Innovation in the world of Brown Shoes is not the norm. Fashion is dictated by trends and is trained to overcome the discomfort caused by "sexy", "elegant" and "timeless". Asked to work with the business team to set an agenda that celebrated Nike's investment in the world of wingtips an pumps, we needed to first learn the rules of fashion product and how to best apply our process for making things better.
My first two weeks in NYC were spent learning the difference between a captoe and wedge. However, one visit from CEO Mark Parker to check on my progress lead to a simple comment - "Don't overthink it. Just do what you did in NSW."
While space in the office was tight, our Creative Director offered us an old closet in the center of the building. No windows. No paint. No floor.
Perfect. We made the Innovation Closet a locked space that kept our thinking safe an "Invitation Only" area that synched well with our big brother - the Innovation Kitchen.
The Nike Sports Research Lab supported our efforts without hesitation. Then women on Nike campus jumped at the chance to help our team improve their high heel experience.