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Adidas Pushing the Boundaries with Innovation

Adidas are the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second biggest sportswear manufacturer in the world, after its US rival Nike, yet CEO and Chairman Herbert Hainer knows that size is in no way as important as speed and dynamism when it comes to business.
“The size [of the company] doesn’t matter. If that was the case dinosaurs would still be around, it is the fastest one who will win the race,” Hainer told

Adidas and Innovation

Hainer has been in the top spot of Adidas since 2001, as is keen to impart his philosophy from the top to the bottom of Adidas. “We went to the stock market in 1995, and then we had a good few years, but then we became a little to self-complacent, to self-confident, we were not aggressive anymore, our lack of innovation was shining through, my job was to make the whole [of Adidas] much faster,” he said.

With speed comes innovation and Adidas have been at the forefront of several innovative campaigns. Just last month Adidas unveiled the NBA Revolution 30 – New uniforms which are made from 60 percent recycled materials, feature Adidas’ Formotion technology, which reduces seams, decreases friction between the garment and the player’s skin and optimizes the player’s natural movement through specially constructed material. Adidas also produced the Jubulani soccer ball exclusively for the World Cup in South Africa, and has released the increasingly popular adjustable R9 golf driver.

“In my opinion this industry is clearly product driven, and product is innovation. We can see it at the moment with the tough [economic times], consumption is going down, the consumer is very cautious, [yet] we’re still bringing products to the market that are selling like hot-cakes. For example the new golf driver, the R9, which has adjustable angle, came out in February and within a week was the most sold driver in the industry. This clearly shows that when you’re able to bring innovative products to the market, the consumers are still there and still want to buy.”

You can view our exclusive short interviews on how to manage an agile company, how to manage innovation and how to set an example with Herbert Hainer on the site now.

This article originally ran on Business Management Europe.

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