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Remote Work Responsible For Slowdown Of Innovation – Says Nike CEO

Remote Work Responsible For Slowdown  Of Innovation – Says Nike CEO
Nike CEO John Donahoe on Friday blamed remote work for the company falling behind on innovation, saying that it’s tough to be disruptive when people are working from home.
In a television interview, Donahoe was asked about the company’s lack of fresh new products in its assortment, which had been a concern among investors.
“What’s been missing is the kind of bold, disruptive innovation that Nike’s known for and when we look back, the reasons are fairly straightforward,” said Donahoe.
He pointed out that footwear factories in Vietnam were forced to shutter during the Covid-19 pandemic but said “even more importantly,” Nike’s employees worked from home for 2.5 years.
“In hindsight, it turns out, it’s really hard to do bold, disruptive innovation, to develop a boldly disruptive shoe on Zoom,” Donahoe said. “Our teams came back together 18 months ago in person, and we recognize this. So we realigned our company, and over the last year we have been ruthlessly focused on rebuilding our disruptive innovation pipeline along with our iterative innovation pipeline.”
Nike's innovation pipeline, according to Donahoe, "is as strong as ever," and customers can anticipate new product releases every season in addition to the innovative storytelling the company has always been recognised for.
The company is going through a difficult period when the CEO makes these remarks. The massive shoe company has been under fire from some analysts and investors for lagging behind in terms of innovation and losing market share to upstarts like On Running and Hoka, who have attracted a new generation of runners and experienced tremendous growth in recent years.
Nike unveiled a massive reorganisation plan in December with the goal of cutting expenses by roughly $2 billion over the following three years. In addition, it reduced its sales forecast, cautioning about weaker demand in the upcoming quarters.
After two months, it announced that it was cutting more than 1,500 jobs, or 2% of its staff, to make greater investments in its growing businesses, which included running, the women's division, and the Jordan brand.
Donahoe emphasised on Friday that Nike is still "gaining share" and is still the industry leader in running and sports in general.
“We’ve done more to advance running than any brand in the world over the last 50 years and we continue to lead with elite runners,” said Donahoe when asked about On Running and Hoka.  “Innovation has always been what’s marked Nike in running, as in other categories and so we’re not just going to copy what other people do, we’re gonna bring innovation.”

Christopher J. Mitchell

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