Nike’s 5 Lessons of Design and Success

photo credit: Fast Company/Nike

Regardless of the industry, any brand can easily agree that Nike is an icon of the modern age. Not limited to making great strides within sports, Nike has used design to great effect, propelling forward a $60 billion business.

Fast Company sat down with  Nike President & CEO Mark Parker and VP of Global Design John Hoke at the 2013 Innovation By Design Conference to find out how businesses — any business — can learn the lessons of success through design.

5 Takeaways from Their Success

Learn by Doing
When Hoke was only 12 years old, he literally took apart his Nike’s and created a new concept (very similar to Nike’s now iconic Air shoe line) and sent it to Nike. They were so impressed they wrote him back and told him to look them up when he was ready for a job — which is exactly what he did.

Stay Balanced
As the CEO, Parker gives great credence to balance. In face, his personal sketchbook of ideas is split in half: The left side is dedicated to the business considerations of an idea, and the right side is dedicated to designs and doodling.

Design As Direction
According to Parker, design helps a company see themselves in relation to their competitors. “Design helps a company think about where it is and where it wants to be,” says Parker.

Abandon the Past, Embrace the Future
Design allows you to find new ways to succeed before you fail, says Hoke and Parker. You just have to be ready to let go of the way things have always been done.

Stay Focused
Stay focused on your brand and your mission — as the world changes, make sure to change with it. Nike has created the ideal tech partnerships to complement their main mission, and so continue to be a success. As Parker says, “We can only do so much on our own. We’re not going to innovate in isolation.”

Read more from Nike on how to innovate and design your brand to success.

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