Thursday, September 3, 2009

Olympic Innovation

This afternoon's discussion on running shoe technology caught my attention, so I went hunting on the internet to find new technologies in shoe design. I am an Olympic games fanatic, and I am always curious to see new athletic equipment/apparel created specifically for Olympic athletes and then watch those technologies trickle down into the market for the public.

Remember the record-breaking Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson and his patent golden Nike spikes (see picture on the left)? Well, his famous "lighter than a feather" shoes would now be considered heavy and cumbersome. Below is a link to an article I read on about high-tech gear developed for the 2008 Olympic Games. The article talks about Nike's new shoe technology, called Flywire, and how it came to fruition from concept to research to testing and finally, to use in the Games. It was developed in Nike's "Innovation Kitchen" on their campus in Oregon and the technology was inspired by suspension bridge design - a great example of cross-industry innovation. Read at least through the section where the author describes the "kitchen" where Nike's product innovation occurs. It echoes what we've discussed in class about companies staying innovative. The rest of the article is very interesting ("track runners never turn right so shoes are designed a Nascar stock car") and touches on how other companies like Adidas and Speedo have contributed to the advancement of sports technology.

Here is the link to the article. Enjoy.

Also, here is a short video about Flywire technology. It has several interviews with Nike's design team. Really cool.

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