In our last post, we looked at Adidas’ new commitment to design thinking. The company is determined to ramp-up their innovative output and gain a competitive advantage in the sports apparel market. Now, we’ll take a look at how design thinking is propelling Adidas into the stratosphere. Literally.
Adidas recently signed a groundbreaking partnership with NASA and the International Space Station to innovate and test its products in space. The footwear giant plans to improve current and future products and to transform the way we think about space, movement and human ability.
First on the company’s agenda is to study how flight characteristics can impact the design and function of their soccer balls. Adidas delivered soccer balls to the International Space Station earlier this year, marking the beginning of their ambitious research.
Why take soccer balls to space? Christine Kretz, Vice President of Program and Partnerships of the International Space Station US National Laboratory told CNN “... microgravity is the only condition in which we can observe specific experiments like the behavior of a spinning soccer ball without interrupting airflow.” Adidas hopes to be able to take what they learn and optimize both the shape and material of their soccer balls.
In addition to soccer balls, the retail giant will be the first brand to test their footwear in space—an unprecedented commercial initiative. The company plans to study the foam of their most popular product line, the Adidas Boost, in an effort to optimize performance and comfort. Adidas expects to begin this research next year.
Adidas will also conduct athletic research by working with astronauts, assisting them with pre-mission workouts and studying the occurrence of muscular atrophy in the absence of gravity. The company hopes to use this information to come up with optimal training regimens for athletes, and to improve and innovate their compression apparel for muscle enhancement and recovery.
Adidas’ new innovation platform has led to a resurgence in the company’s relevancy. With a new corporate strategy of continuous improvement through design thinking, the retail giant is pushing the boundaries of possibility for athletic wear and equipment. You might say they are shooting for the stars.
To learn more about design thinking in the retail world, check out our post on the partnership between Target and Disney.
Learn how to enable innovation skill-building at scale here or download our free ebook Design Thinking 101.