The heart of my work is innovation for the human body, creating novel solutions that answer unmet needs. I started out in Sports Apparel Innovation, and continue to have a great passion for Sports and the Outdoors, but the last eight to ten years have seen Sports blur with Military, Fashion, Medical more than ever, so my work has bridged these fields as project and clients move more fluidly across them to create meaningful solutions, always looking to ethnography to answer consumer needs, even those not yet foreseen.
Design for Innovation
My design projects range from large scale collaborations for products which drove seasonal sales, to creating an Olympic running kit, creating concepts for lead pieces for major sports brand which were used for inline pull downs, working on clandestine military apparel, integrating existing technology into on body applications, and conversely bring technology in to solve for human needs, working on a airlock system for a lunar habitat, managing research teams embedded long term to develop truly consumer need driven products and supporting startups in developing clarity on their brand DNA, which is the foundation upon which innovation must exist.
The application of technology to the greatest blue sky opportunities has only grown over the past 10 years, and I have worked in this space, across medical, military, sports and fashion, with groups such as Intel, Manufacture New York, North Face/VF, MIT and Kenzen. Technology can involve electronics or textiles, construction innovation or even application of cutting edge technology in the manufacturing processes. It is always about the best technology for the brand DNA, the story, and the user problem at hand.
Creating a New Product
Essentially, first one must know the brand DNA, and where you fit within your market. You cannot know what is the right direction for disruption unless you know who you are at your core; what you stand for, how you are perceived and want to be perceived, and the last may not be one and the same.
The second, more nebulous but exciting part of the innovation process is essentially going out to what don’t necessarily seem like adjacent markets and getting a feel for what is bubbling up among thought leaders, and creatives there, trusting intuition for repeating themes and developments that are major, even if they are not repeat themes. When I work with sports companies like New Balance and North Face, I spend a lot of time researching and working with technology innovators, fashion and health innovation, all the while keeping in touch with the brand's elite consumer who frame the picture of where innovation should land at the top level.
Extreme Users-Elite Professionals
Collaborating extensively with the outliers and people at the top of their industry, through workshops and interviews is a big part of what I do. And I use deep empathy and photography skills on more subtle research such as follows and long term embedded studies which are often key to identifying problems - opportunities, solution ideas, partners, and the design process as a whole.
Field research and intensive ethnography, photography and deep user engagement is a large part of what I do as a designer, conveying this to partners in multiple mediums, and why love what I do.
I have worked intensively with clandestine military forces, disabled veterans, Olympic athletes, sponsored extreme sports athletes, top fashion industry thought leaders, senior citizens and many more unique outlier groups across a wide array of projects.
This work has been the genesis of some projects, and key to finding inspiration or solutions in others, as well as allowing brands to grow rich understanding of their world consumers' now and to come. Humans are the genesis of designs, and the reason we create.