Case Study

The Mechanics of Innovation

What does “innovation” look like? The adidas Future team, which makes up the advanced research, design and development arm of the company, has been the source of countless game-changing inventions and innovations in the world of sports. Leadership wanted a clearer look into the group’s inner workings to understand how and why it was turning out its brilliant ideas.

A Glowing Reputation
Future leadership approached Coraggio for support in exploring its innovation process from start to finish so that it could expand its reach and impact. The aim was to develop two documents: one highlighting the principles of innovation, and another outlining the mechanics of innovation. These would shed light on several key operational questions, including:

  • How have our innovation processes evolved?
  • How do the various product and functional teams within Future use the current process?
  • How do our team’s best practices compare to one another?

Turning a Spotlight on the Team
Coraggio engaged with the Future team to get a better grasp of its activities, operations and abilities. This exploration required us to analyze, document and redefine the mechanics of adidas innovation processes. We facilitated retreats, interviews and work sessions with leadership and staff from across the organization. These interactions showed us when and where mental lightbulbs were going off, and how the system facilitated or disrupted these moments of discovery.

The findings from our outreach were synthesized into a composite process map illuminating innovation at adidas from insight to product completion. Another deliverable codified the most current processes and project requirements.

A Bright Future
Efforts shined light on what the Future team was already doing well, and where it could improve. We documented the team’s best practices, encouraged introspection and then helped it apply our findings. By analyzing what was similar, what had changed and what needed to be modified, Future not only improved its innovation processes, it also strengthened its team and organizational culture. The process map highlighted key opportunities and was available for future evaluation, teaching new team members and communicating across the company on a larger scale.

“ My team has worked with Coraggio for over ten years with great results. Coraggio has been instrumental in helping us with organizational strategy, process improvement, and team dynamics. They have led us through change management and helped make us a stronger team. We are looking forward to a solid working relationship for the years ahead. ”

— Steve Vincent, Former SVP Global Head of Innovation