Innovation isn’t something that must (or should) be pursued alone. GLOBIS Faculty Cristian Vlad went to Germany to interview Adidas Think Tank Future Trends and Innovation Director Christian Kuhna about collaboration and how the digital age is transforming business expectations…and opportunities.
CV: How do you make magic happen at Adidas?
CK: My job is to look at the mega trends, like digitalization, IoT, and AI, but I also have to pay attention to demographic changes, globalization etc., and interpret them for the future of work and organizations. I need to answer an important question: what do we need to change and start doing differently now to have a competitive advantage in the future?
With our new strategy, “Creating the New,” we implemented a people strategy and identified 3 key behaviors we expect from all our employees: creativity, collaboration and confidence.
CV: Meaningful collaboration is so important, isn’t it? How do you bring others into your projects?
CK: “Creating the New” focuses on speed, city, and open source. I’m currently doing a cross-industrial collaboration with Jovoto and seven other big companies on the future of work. We’re crowdstorming with around 80,000 people on the internet. The quality of ideas we get back is unbelievable.
A collaboration from a business I personally love is Parley for the Oceans. We are working with Parley to transform ocean plastic pollution into high performance sportswear, spinning the problem into a solution.
CV: This is all extremely impressive! Creating valuable opportunities for open innovation is what most organizations struggle with. How do you see future organizations dealing with this new scenario?
CK: I see the workforce developing into an open ecosystem, a more cross-industry and project-oriented network inside and outside of companies, with more freedom to work when and where people want to.
My advice is to stay curious and never stop learning. Explore and try out new things. Keep a healthy balance between work and life. This separation will only continue to dissolve, which is why it’s even more important to be balanced. And last but not least, try to have more fun!