What is Nike’s Design philosophy? How can you distinguish it from any other brand?
Because it’s a perfect balance of art and science, some brands are more Art, and some brands might be communicating they are more Science, but Nike truly innovates and then cares a lot about how the new invented product is going to look, in both areas our job is to completely surprise the consumers. At Nike, its 100% Art, 100% performance, I don’t think one can be more important than the other, and to say 50/50 also doesn’t feel right, we are fully committed to art and fully committed to science.
When you are working on a new shoe design, what is it you are first thinking about? The innovation and the function? Or the overall aesthetics of the shoe?
In a perfect situation you come up with innovative ideas that are so ground breaking that they redefine the new aesthetic, so you don’t have to worry much about how it looks. Other times when you don’t have these ground breaking innovations, it depends, you can start from performance, or you can envision an aesthetic and then in that rough sketch look at that aesthetic and kind of interpret what will do what, and then from there take it to the next level, and at the end comes the functions and innovations. So it could start with wither route. Some people have a very German approach, consumer insight, performance, and then aesthetics, but I think it can start from a dream, and the dream can be around performance and aesthetic, I think it’s all about what will excite the consumer to buy that product, if it’s going to be an innovative aesthetic then start from there, otherwise if you start from performance, performance might lock you in an aesthetic that won’t work for the consumer, so it depends what’s more important for them.
As a designer and innovator, how do you identify problems to solve?
From consumers, always from consumers, they give you the inspiration I think of what to do, I think you need a couple of things, you need insights, you need inspiration, you need imagination, and then you need innovation, and if you have all these you come up with great products and solutions. There are people who can help you with insight, no one can inspire you, if you’re not open to inspiration it’s not going to happen, no one can imagine what could be, except for you, and then people could help you innovate. So different parts of the process are on your shoulders, and different parts you can work within a team as a designer.
What would you say is the future of innovation within Football (Soccer)? What are future challenges that need to be faced?
Football boots have been pretty similar for the past 100 years, so we want to completely change the industry, but it’s not easy, because it requires patience, time, and commitment. So it’s not easy, but we have to give it a try. So if you look at the boots from the past 30 years, the shape, the cleats, materials, laces, and everything is almost the same, so how can make it better for the athlete if things have not changed much in the shoe.
Why have you not done any major changes to the football boots then?
I think it’s because we have not come with something that is completely ground breaking yet, and in order to come up with solutions you need to make a study. If you want to change the traction solution, you need to study traction, and then start experimenting and failing, there’s going to be a lot of mistakes down the road, until you come up with a solution.
Are there certain things that inspire you?
Everything inspires me, but what motivates me is doing great things. When I feel that things are average or even good, something kicks in, I want things to be great, I think that’s why I like being a designer, and if I can change the world I will change the world. Think motivation, if you’re motivated you will be inspired, work hard, overcome obstacles and people in your way.
Any final advice?
There are opportunities everywhere, and there is inspiration everywhere, if you are open to it, you will have no problems. Don’t waste time on what doesn't interest you, focus on what you really care about, and what really motivates you, but have a process, develop on your own process, you can’t rely on just creativity or times when ideas spark to you, you need to develop a process so you can deliver every time when something is asked of you.