Creativity and Innovation in Nike

Free «Creativity and Innovation in Nike» Essay Sample


In a business environment, creativity and innovation have become the most important skills for the achievement of success in developed countries. Creativity, in most cases, will go hand in hand with innovation. Creativity can be defined as the capability to produce new and unique ideas, while innovation is the subsequent ability to implement the idea of creativity. As such, the driving force behind innovation is creativity, and it involves incorporation of various ideas. The importance of innovation and creativity in business is based on the expected increased productivity of an organization.

Creative ideas, as well as innovative approaches, may originate from customers, employees, and even partners. In the contemporary world, it is evident that companies which are mostly successful are the ones who are overly innovative and creative. In most cases, companies tend to distance themselves from competition and avoid the strategies that have been already adopted by other companies. On the one hand, creativity in this dimension can be regarded as a function of curiosity imagination in relation to the development of new products and services. On the other hand, creativity in this context can be regarded as a higher and advanced level of creativity. Several strategies have been applied by various companies to enhance creativity and innovation in companies. Such strategies involve identification of the problem which stands on the company’s way of becoming successful.

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Business Case for Innovation

Innovation for Nike began when two visionaries came together and decided that Nike could do a good job designing shoes for athletes. Nowadays, Nike is among the leading innovators of footwear apparel equipment, as well as accessories. Being a designer, Nike is also a manufacturer of many things, including brand communication. Nike is also a leading company in corporate social responsibility, as well as a portfolio of authentic and relevant brands (Carter & Rogers 2008, p. 362). The innovation strategy of Nike is based on eight things that define all of its activities and operations.

The first aspect that denotes innovation in Nike is the element of sports. As indicated by the mission statement, the aim of the company is to bring innovation and inspiration to each and every athlete globally. Therefore, Nike harbors the numerous opportunities that can be provided to athletes (Hopkins et al. 2009, p. 20). Globally, sports have grown to be one of the universal activities and, therefore, Nike has taken the opportunity to conduct business in this endeavor. As a result, Nike has gone ahead to develop as one of the major footwear designer in the world with branches and outlets in more than 170 countries. Furthermore, the company has employed more than 30000 employees worldwide. More so, the company has developed several brands of the products that serve the consumer lifestyles, as well as more than 30 major sports (Carter & Rogers 2008, p. 367). Since the development of the company, the business model has been built on partnerships with athletes, manufacturers, as well as team retailers, so as to serve all the needs of the consumers from all parts of the world.

Third, the company has banked on brand recognition, as an aspect of innovation in the enterprise. In this case, the company is recognized through the swoosh symbol which is well known by most people. When it comes to product’s marketing, the brand has demonstrated it to be one of the most significant assets (Moore & Manring 2009, p. 282). As such, in the recognition of Nike’s strategy for innovation, the brand, being one of the most flexible and powerful points of growth, has demonstrated to be one of the major players in the growth and development of the company.

Subsequently, the company has gone ahead to create a portfolio that is meant to reach out across the multiple lifestyles, coupled with various price points. In addition to the Jordan and Nike brands, the company has gone ahead to adopt several other subsidiaries, among these are Converse and Cole Haan, which specialize in luxury shoes, handbags, coats as well as accessories. The converse affiliate deals with footwear and athletic footwear. More so, Converse also deals with apparel, as well as lifestyle accessories. Hurley is another subsidiary which specializes in footwear that supports active sports. This includes items, such as accessories, footwear, and even apparel. Finally, Nike’s strategy of innovation on the acquisition of brands includes the Nike Golf and Umbro, which is one of the prominent UK brands that deal with accessories and footwear. The acquisition of all these subsidiaries ensures that the company maximizes its scope throughout the world. This is because each subsidiary company will target a particular consumer group (Bendell 2006, p. 256). In this regard, the key competencies in the aspects of operations, as well as marketing, is one of the primary drives that has steered the consistent growth and development of the company.

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Nike attributes most of its success to the relationship between the company and consumers. As a result, there have been several innovative efforts meant to foster and strengthen such relationships. More so, according to the management of the company, real innovation is that which has been having emanated from customers. To heed this, Nike has established a research laboratory where most of the developments are carried out. In this laboratory, biomechanics as well as exercise physiology are among the aspects that are tested to derive the industrial designs, which are related to different fields. The relationship between customers and the company will aid in the development of particular technologies to ensure that the development of appropriate technologies will assist in setting the standards of the company. Innovation in the Nike Company is based on the idea that different customers have sophisticated needs (Epstein & Buhovac 2010, p. 41). This is the factor that has led to the reorganization of the company to produce seven major brands. These brands can be categorically identified as sportswear, action sports, women’s training, men’s training, running, football and basketball. In so doing, Nike aims at generating what can seem like a global experience through gaining familiarity with customers (Bendell 2006, p. 265). Concerning Nike, innovation includes both the improvement of a product as well as ways through which the company can incorporate the engagement of other businesses. This is to ensure that new processes are created and that lives of people all over the world are improved through appropriate sustainability strategies (Hopkins et al. 2009, p. 20).

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The Objectives for Innovation

Nike intends to provide an environment where people maximize their contribution. In the same regard, Nike focuses on the consumer segment opportunities. Such objectives are meant to provide quality and innovative services and product, both internally as well as externally. Furthermore, another objective of innovation is to make sustainability one of the top priorities in brand consumer agendas (Hopkins et al. 2009, p. 20). Finally, Nike intends to hasten change through the process of investment and collaboration.

Sources of Innovation

Nike has emerged as one of the most global sustainable brands. The global sustainability strategy occurs after Nike had undergone a period of backlash. After the backlash, it was important that the company took into account the matters that affect the immediate community. Nike, therefore, assumed more responsibility and undertook rigorous training courses for managers as well as other staff members (Lubin & Esty 2010, p. 54). The company took the initiative to train their managers on cultural sensitivity and language skills. The specific areas that were targeted for the sustainability program include the top management, product stewardship, enhancement of product quality high performance of the supply chains, and response to societal problems via stakeholder engagement (Lubin & Esty 2010, p. 45). The company’s leaders and employees have been trained on the effectiveness of the interconnection between brand enhancements and sustainability. According to Nike, sustainability is not just about risk management, it is rather about capital growth efficiency as well as profitability. Nike has its growth stretegies, which are based on the major pillars which include profitability, capital efficiency, brand enhancement and, most importantly, sustainability (Teece 2010, p. 189).

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Environmental Based Product Stewardship

One thing about the company is that it is oriented on limiting the utilization of the limited natural resources. Sustainability for Nike is, therefore, an opportunity for innovation. This can be seen from the fact that Nike uses materials that are eco-friendly to innovatively come up with the products. The example of innovative technology is the Fly Knit technology that employs the use of only one thread to knit a shoe’s upper (Teece 2010, p. 179). As such, shoes can be made lighter and custom fit. This method ensures that there is lesser wastage of resources and, at the same time, ensure that there is less release of wastes into the environment. Waterless dyeing technology is another innovation, which involves the use of CO2 in place of water. In another dimension, Nike works together with the NASA, the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) so as to encourage more innovations that will generate environmentally friendly products (Teece 2010, p. 189).

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Enhancement of Product Quality

One of the things that the company is doing to improve the quality of the product is by greening the entire supply chain so as to ensure that the level of the toxic wastes that are released during the process are significantly reduced. As such, the company has developed a list of the products that have been restricted. This list acts as the guide to the suppliers of the raw materials. Also, the list also provides the suppliers with all the toxic materials that are used in footwear and in the textiles (Bendell 2006, p. 255). With such technologies, the products that are provided by the suppliers are less toxic and, therefore, more environment friendly. Additionally, the company gives the suppliers criteria from which they can select the detergents as well chemicals and dye systems that are by the sustainable regulations (Casadesus-Masanell & Ricart 2010, p. 196).

Business Measures to Ensure High Standards

To improve the performance of the supply chain performance, the company has gone ahead to reveal the list of the companies that manufacture all its products. Most importantly, Nike implemented one of the strategies that are known as the global manufacturing index (Ramaswamy 2008, p. 13). This evaluation system covers all the products and the brands. As such, the company can use this platform to assess the performance improvements that have been achieved by the manufacturing industries. Other metrics, particularly the traditional ones, are also applied to assess the environmental sustainability of the industries regulations (Casadesus-Masanell & Ricart 2010, p. 196). Manufacturers create a particular score for each industry. The industries can then be ranked regarding whether they are gold, silver, bronze, yellow or red. The companies are supposed to attain a minimum of the bronze rating. Those that are above the particular ratings are rewarded according to Nike’s priority considerations.

Exploring Problems of the Society through Innovative Approaches

One thing that has been implemented by the company is to ensure that it has assumed leadership when tackling the issues that are related to the society. One of the issues that Nike has been interested in alleviating is the occurrence of childhood obesity cases. As such, the company has donated $50 million to support the children who are suffering from obesity and related diseases (Hopkins et al. 2009, p. 20). More so, the company participates in community-based activities that inspire the children to become more physically active and, therefore, reduce the chances of obesity occurrence. Also, Nike sponsors schools and institutions to facilitate the integration of sport into the curriculums, thus, making sure that children are physically active.

Major Challenges to Innovation in the Company

Among the challenges that have been experienced by the companies are the ones that are associated with the management of innovation networks. The first problem has to do with the acquisition of the momentum to start implementing the strategy (Bendell 2006, p. 255). There is the problem of defining the boundaries within which Nike should operate. For instance, the sustainability models fail to explain just how much the company should engage in the community-based activities (Epstein & Buhovac 2010, p. 306). Another challenge is the information processing that is of particular importance when it comes to the matters related to suppliers and inventories (Keene 2000, p. 7).

Nike is facing another leadership challenge that is conflict resolution. This mainly occurs between the Nike Company and shareholders as well as the rest of the community. Another problem is the difficulties that are experienced by the company while trying to implement the strategy (Epstein & Buhovac 2010, p. 306). Coordination of all the teams seems to be one of the most stressful situations that are encountered. Another issue is the risk and benefits sharing of the outcomes of the innovation strategy. Also, there is a difficulty in knowledge management. The evolution stage of the plan is the one in which most problems are encountered (Epstein & Buhovac 2010, p. 306). Another thing is that as the global economy continues to increase, there is the development of constraints in leadership and governance of the company, and consequently, this creates the need to come up with new strategies of leadership (Bendell 2006, p. 256).

Roles of Leadership in Innovation

The role of leaders in the implementation of innovation strategies is not overlooked. The skills approach helps to delineate the skills of a leader. It applies to leaders at all levels within the organization (Keene 2000, p. 7). Nike, Inc. has established several leadership platforms. For instance, Nike is the chair of the world’s economic forum. This group of consumer industries works towards sustainable consumption. In this role, the goal of the company is to make sure that all solutions are meant to accelerate the achievement of a sustainable economy. While in partnership with Deloitte & Touché, Business for Social Responsibility, The Natural Step, and the World Economic Forum, Nike intends to make a transition to a sustainable economy. The main challenges of leadership that are encountered while implementing the innovation strategies is that solutions will demand industry level systemic change that cannot be easily achieved. Another challenge is that a large-scale complexity of changes requires new approaches. As such, the industrial level systemic changes need to be conducted in an orderly manner.

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From the preceding analysis, it is certain that Nike has successfully implemented the sustainability as an innovation strategy in its operations. Although the strategy has demonstrated, considerable growth various challenges have been encountered. Nevertheless, the company can be considered as a success in the implementation of the sustainability strategy for innovation. The company continues to provide ways through which customers and investors are challenged both in terms innovation and creativity. The structure of leadership in Nike Inc. also plays a major role in the innovations that are implemented. Therefore, it is evident that Nike will continue to impact unprecedented changes regarding resources, the population as well as the products that are offered.