Innovations of Olympic Proportions

I would expect that most of us spent at least a few evenings in front of our TV in August watching some of the many Olympic events . And if you’re in business, it also crossed your mind what an opportunity this massive event is for those that are involved. The key word for business in these Olympic Games: Innovation!


Adidas developed a running shoe for Jeremy Wariner that has different spikes on the left and right shoes, since he propels primarily with his right foot. Opening and closing ceremony tickets are embedded with RFID chips made by ASK-TongFang that identify the owner and prevent fraud. And the 18,000-seat basketball gymnasium includes an aluminum-alloy skin that reflects most of the sun’s rays to keep it cooler inside, designed by Beijing Architecture Research Institute. These innovations and many others open doors for the companies involved that equate to billions of dollars of business in the coming years.


How does a company become innovative and keep the innovation juices flowing? We scanned our library of top business book summaries to see what the innovation leaders are recommending to keep ahead of the competition. Here are few ideas:


Patricia Seybold brings her internet-focus to innovation in Outside Innovation, advocating for the involvement of customers in the product design process. By engaging your lead customers and providing them with design tools, you can harness their creativity to bring brilliant new products to market. Lego is a prime example with their Mindstorms product line, which was developed in tandem with key families, hobbyists and educators.


In The Ten Faces of Innovation, Tom Kelley and Jonathan Littman describe the various roles that people can play within an organization in order to foster innovation. These include the Anthropologist – who goes into the field to see how customers are using and responding to products, the Cross-Pollinator – who mixes and matches ideas, people and technology to create new ideas, and the Handler – who instantly looks at ways to overcome limits and challenges. There are seven other personas that can help any company to become a long-term innovator.


These two titles, along with eight others, are available in Soundview’s Innovation Collection

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