How Nike's New App Could Disrupt Your Industry

Nike recently launched a free app available for designers and consumers to use to compare the environmental impacts of various fabrics such as silk, polypropylene, leather, linen and more.  Using cotton as a comparison material, users can see ratings under categories of chemistry, water, energy and greenhouse gas emissions, waste, recycled, organic and a basic material score.  I’ve downloaded the app and discovered that “the touch, the feel of cotton” gets rather beat up in the scoring.  Spandex does even worse since it produces 158% more waste than cotton and silk uses 50% less water than cotton. 

 

This simple app was built on a huge database from the Nike Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) containing eight years of extensive environmental research on materials and fabric.  In an effort to help bring the entire apparel industry into a more sustainable future, Nike has shared its work with competitors through the Sustainable Apparel Coalition where it became part of the industry coalition’s Higgs Index.

 

The innovation implications for the apparel industry are huge.  With so much data readily available, designers have greater incentive to use alternative fabrics that provide the quality they seek while reducing harm to the environment and consumers.  Chemists and fabric developers are challenged to create new and better materials that go beyond doing less harm, seeking ways to bring environmental benefits.  Nike's  “The Making of Making” initiative challenges the apparel industry designers to do what they do best – by "making better things and making things better."  

 

So, what does this have to do with you if you aren’t in apparel?  Plenty.  My advice to clients is to find ideas, trends, threats and opportunities in and out of your industry.  We are in the throes of transformation across sectors – food, beverage, hospitality, energy, transportation, insurance, sports, technology, finance, carpets, packaging, furniture… (I could go on, but I think you get the point.)  We are in the era of beyond best practices to creating next practices.  Is that how you are viewing your business, or are you still myopically chasing quarterly profits, slashing headcount and making incremental change to stay afloat?

 

Learn more about “The Making of Making” from Nike: http://nikemakers.com/

 

Clancy, Heather, “Nike to fashion industry: Just do it (with our app)”, GreenBiz, July 8, 2013.  http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2013/07/03/nike-fashion-industry-just-do-it?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRokuKXJZKXonjHpfsX56%2BwkUKK1lMI%2F0ER3fOvrPUfGjI4DTsZmI%2BSLDwEYGJlv6SgFSLHEMa5qw7gMXRQ%3D

Materials Sustainability Index Apparel Coalition:  http://msi.apparelcoalition.org/#/ 

Download the Making app at:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/making-making-powered-by-nike/id662227880

Home Page Teaser: 
Nike recently launched a free app available for designers and consumers to use to compare the environmental impacts of various fabrics such as silk, polypropylene, leather, linen and more. Using cotton as a comparison material, users can see ratings under categories of chemistry, water, energy and greenhouse gas emissions, waste, recycled, organic and a basic material score. I’ve downloaded the app and discovered that “the touch, the feel of cotton” gets rather beat up in the scoring. Spandex does even worse since it produces 158% more waste than cotton and silk uses 50% less water than cotton.

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