197 – Jon Werner of Adidas – Innovating Relationships with Footwear and Apparel

Innovation and wearable tech win footwear and apparel

Jon Werner, Innovation Explorer for Adidas (profile) joins Pavan Bahl, Rob Sanchez and Marc Raco at WEAR Conference 2017 in San Francisco.

A startup within a brand, supporting WEAR Conference, and trends leading to movement

Werner discusses how he joined Adidas via an acquisition of a startup focused on mobile fitness, tracking performance for athletes before iPhones. He shares how it is like a startup in well-funded brand, with insights not available as a startup, integrated into the brand. Apparel and shoes make a difference in injury protection and longevity in the sport. Why Adidas maintains presence and support of WEAR Conference. People moving means selling products at Adidas, and how some trends allow getting people to move via technology. Smart fabrics, textiles, wearables, the joke about Adidas as one of the first wearable companies.

Partnering with startups, a changing landscape, and cyborgs

The degree of partnership and the opportunity to collaborate with others, how people are wanting to share resources. The perspective on how people would keep their IP, and going out on their own can stifle creativity. Protect your investments and find ways to partner with others. Important considerations to impact on environment. Seeing a landscape change with sensors, and creating stories about shift of in-store technology, more experiential in retail. Getting NFC chips implanted hands, the possibilities for premium experience, does this make sense to do? How 50,000 people have it, early adopters, and are they cyborgs? How much is wearable tech about being a thing you put on or a tool use, vs. becoming a part of you.

Avoiding silos of innovation, investing in retail, and exploration

The way Werner thinks about developing internal with Adidas, and working with other brands. Trying not to be more than 50% of a startup’s business, a challenge with spending power which has a pitfall, rolling out technology and supporting as a challenge, avoiding silos of innovation and coordinating retail use cases changing, why retail space are highly relevant, 8 key cities Adidas is pouring energy into, how installations will get smaller and can go into retail locations. Smart pixel tech in hightops, more consumer engagement with products, hangtags going away, how a washing machine and dryer could know what kind of apparel or shows and can adjust for that, and the ability to augment sport. Plus Off the Grid Questions cover a great bike, hot wheels, exploration, and sustainability.

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