After a couple of successful running projects from the Tokyo Design Studio, I was invited to join the global Nike Running team when I returned to Oregon. Never a runner, I quietly protested with a document entitled "I Hate Running" with the hope that I could avoid working in the rigid category. To my dismay, they embraced the premise.
"I Hate Running" was the acknowledgement that for every other sport running was used as punishment. You break a rule, you run. You show up late, you run. You don't run hard enough, you run more.
That insight and the understanding that my goal was to design functional running shoes that didn't look "prescribed" lead the category to bring me in. Joined be 4 other designers with similar mindsets, we transformed a category that needed an update. I learned more from working with that design crew in 3 years than any other role and I am thankful the "hate" disappeared.