xrematon

April 29, 2012

Innovate out of problems

Filed under: Business,Innovation,Sustainability — by xrematon @ 8:23 pm
Tags: , ,

I’ve been doing some research on different corporates and the one that intrigued me most was Nike. I must confess I have become a bit of a fan as a result. In reading about their recent product launches, I came across Flyknit technology which produces a ‘shoe-cum-sock’. The trainer is made with the bare minimum amount of material and seems to be mostly woven to create an upper part of the shoe which is virtually seamless.

Nike’s trying to recreate the sensation of running with no shoe at all – but this is no emperor’s new clothes. There are several reasons why Flyknit  should mean gold stars for Nike.

  1. The resulting trainer is lighter – it weighs 160g which is about the same as a large apple. Being lighter has many advantages – not simply for the runner:  it means it costs less to transport; and that it using less material.
  2. It requires only two pieces to be sown, compared to the 38 for another popular model (the Air Pegasus 28). This means it takes less time to make and requires less labour.
  3. The knock-on of the point 2 is that the human effort required to create the shoe has been considerably reduced – so much so that Nike could make the shoe anywhere in the world rather than having to go to places where labour rates are cheap. With one innovative swoosh it could do away with that reliance on factories which have been such a thorn in its side for a long time.

But it does make me wonder – what will those workers in the factories that are no longer sewing Nike trainers do instead? It comes back to that old conundrum – is a bad job better than no job at all? Time for more innovation…

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