What could be a surprise to some, Nike was seen as the most innovative companies in the last year. Normally one may think that the term “innovative company” would be reserved for the Apples and Microsofts of the world, however, the elite athletic company was seen as the king of innovation.

Nike has a way to encourage innovation for their product; have countless numbers of testing without any constraints. This may seem messy, exhaustive, and lead to numerous failures, but Nike was able to come out with two new hits, the FuelBand and the Flyknit Racer. The FuelBand tracts your movement throughout the day and gives you various stats, including how many calories you’ve burned. The Flyknit Racer is a shoe that is created from knit threading rather than multiple layers of fabric.

From these innovative products, Nike was able to break into the tech field of products and created a product that is not only more environmentally friendly, but also reduces production costs. The question is how to achieve such innovation. Nike’s key to push innovation before the competitors is with three key points:

  1. You must go all in with full support:
  2. Predict the Product’s Future
  3. Guide the Workforce

Flyknit was not seen merely as a shoe, but a way to make shoes. Nike did something that was completely against their usual trend, but it worked because they believed in the change and supported from the start. For your company to be innovative, you have to fully support the ideas that you come up with, even though they may be against the norm.

While it is important to have an open mind when coming up with a new product, you also have to determine if there is a market for that product and how that product will change over the years. Nike took a look at the already popular Livestrong bracelets worn by many. They took an already popular design, and made a “smart” version of that. One that would help motivate people to train harder.

It needs to be realized that a stagnant company will not be successful. Everyone at the company has to be focused on what the next thing is, even if it may not be what your business normally does. Google expanded to mobile devices with Android. Apple added Siri to the iPhone to gain an advantage. Successful companies have partners that are focused on constant evolution of products and services.