One way to fuel innovation is to designate special centers devoted to its creation. This is precisely what retail mammoth VF intends to do: it will develop three “innovation centers” crafted to produce footwear, denim products and technical apparel.
The innovation centers will operate as independent research labs, staffed with scientists, engineers and designers. The personnel will be carefully chosen to create a working symbiosis between specialized technical aptitude and a sensitivity to consumer demand.
A spokesperson for VF explained the rationale for the centers: “As we continue to grow around the world, it’s clear to us that having the ability to innovate in the long term as well as the near term is important.”
The denim center will be located in Greensboro, North Carolina; the footwear center in Stratham, New Hampshire; the denim center in Alameda, California. A VF spokesperson estimated that all three would be up and running by the conclusion of 2014.
The expectations for the centers are high; the company is predicting they will be the catalysts behind the eventual introduction of “game-changing” products. Chairman and CEO Eric Wiseman delivered an optimistic forecast:
“These global innovation centers will spark opportunities to fuel VF’s growth and shape the future of apparel and footwear. From the mass market to the mountaintop and from the US to South America, Asia and Europe, we will develop and deliver innovative, ‘must-have’ products for consumers. Consumers buy and pay more for new, differentiated, value-adding products. We will inspire consumers to buy our products and, as a result, drive revenue growth and even higher profitability.”