Nike has just unveiled an 84,000 square foot technical lab on the top floor of the Nike World Headquarters in Portland, Ore. It is five time as big as its predecessor and has the ability to test all forms of sports.
There is a full-size basketball court surrounded by motion cameras, a 200-meter endurance track, a 100-meter straightaway and an artificial turf training pitch. There is also an outdoor training ramp that extends more than 500 feet. There has been a Nike Sport Research Laboratory (NSRL) for more than 40 years. The first was in Exeter, N.H. According to Kathy Gomez, Nike’s vice president of footwear innovation said that Nike ‘s goal is to make “athletes better and to make the world better for athletes”.
The Lab is located within the LeBron James Innovation Center where researchers collaborate with robotics experts and designers to develop new designs. There are prototyping machines that enable speedy prototyping, with the ability to create a new sample under an hour.
Thus, the company can look at an athlete’s problem in different ways and solve it. The company can do anything from chemistry to biology to push the limits of a machine to create a different experience with material. By applying analytical framework, the company can effectively articulate a problem, define a solution, conduct a competitive analysis and create a go-to-market strategy.
The new Lab helps Nike avoid risks and enables it to launch new ventures. Its design strategies will drive innovation and future growth.
The new Nike innovation center in Portland comes at a times when Nike faced closures in Vietnam due to severe Covid-19 outbreaks. However, it is a magnificently thought-out building that will keep Nike on the leading edge of innovation
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POST SCRIPT: Nike is the largest sports shoe and apparel lifestyle manufacturer. It’s 2021 fiscal reports shows sales of $44.5 Billion, of which North American sales were 41.5%. Its closest competitor is Adidas and then Puma. But size is not the only criteria. The thoughtful innovation brought through research make this a unique company. It’s new store in New York City at 650 Fifth Avenue is a really exciting world of shoes and apparel.