Ready. Set. Innovate.

Innovate, or get left behind.

Innovation is a sport, and adidas is a global leader. During an eight-year branded innovation partnership with KISKA, the brand boosted its game even further.

Focussing on performance in user-centric design, an agile and multi-disciplinary team tackled the future of sporting goods and retail. An incubator, the team connected the dots between a range of adidas’ innovations. Making them desirable by blending user research, concept ideation, product design, prototyping and communication. Ultimately, catalysing and leveraging the brand’s bold innovation strategy.

Innovation needs design.

adidas’ Future Team pushes the limits of products, materials and technologies. In the real world however, desirable innovation needs marketable design that fits the brand.

It started with the ultimate lightweight fantasy: the 66-gram shoe. The footwear equivalent of putting humans on Mars: doable, but never been done. Didn’t stop KISKA though. The team designed and prototyped a second skin concept, with minimal structure and ultra-lightweight material. Even went as far as exploring manufacturing methods.

Advanced design.

More of adidas’ tech got the advanced design treatment. The ongoing brief? “Make it cool.” Concepts to make adidas Boost marketable were tested. Leaf spring tech was prototyped. The potential of advanced materials and techniques was mined. Like parametric design, spray-on fibres, biomimicry, additive manufacturing, and patch placement for laceless shoe structures.

Manufacturing solutions for mass customisation.

Data and trend mining tells a cool story about shifting consumer desires. People want products that are personalised and sustainable. Right now (if not sooner).

Tapping into the mood and mapping out holistic customer journeys, KISKA developed future retail concepts that produce hyper-custom footwear. Blending expert consultation and automation, the Maker Lab generates sneakers in-store and to-order. The online Sport Infinity Shoe Configurator allows athletes to tune footwear precisely to their professional specifications. Press a button and it’s done! A shoe made just for you, with minimum wait time and no waste.

Zeroing in on zero-waste products and production.

Design-driven innovation attracts consumers. The EU knows it, and is happy to fund those that get it. Like the Sport Infinity consortium; the cross-industry research group making new breeds of recyclable sporting goods. Using open-source collaboration, it developed innovative materials and automated production methods with great speed. Building on cross-industry knowledge, the partnership is also a platform for change analysis. Disruptions like the circular economy for example, can be examined from a range of industry perspectives.

Collaborator, enabler, and sparring partner, KISKA was adidas’ teammate in innovation. Working at the core of the product, the relationship opened up entirely new ways of making things - and doing business.

Lead. Don't follow.