The Innovator: Nike Designer Mike Friton

By - March 19th, 2013

the innovator nike designer mike friton

Mike Friton is a latter-day innovator, weaver and paper sculptor, as well as a freelance shoemaker who spent 30 years as a shoe builder at Nike. In a short film entitled “The Innovator,” Friton describes the origins of one of his first big ideas — cutting holes in running shoes to allow water to escape — which stemmed from his years running the steeple chase as a member of the University of Oregon track team. It was that knack for brainstorming that led Friton to create Nike’s legendary Innovation Kitchen, a group numbering 20 who explored, mixed and combined — innovators, rather than engineers or designers. Today, Friton observes that finding new paths, concepts and ideas is essential to survival. “Without innovation,” he concludes, “I think we’d all become extinct.” Check out the video below.

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