What can shoes with toes teach you about innovation?
About 6 months ago I saw a friend of mine wearing these shoes that had toes but looked like running shoes. My friend commented at length about how comfortable these shoes are and that they have changed the way he feels when he wears them. Fast forward to this past week when I was reading one of my magazines and I saw this advertisement.
The ad caught my eye because I recall the live experience and discussion with my friend. I then read the contents of the ad that is situated between the shoes. You can click on the shoe innovation ad to the right to see a larger version of this and read the text for yourself.
Business Owners & Organizational Leaders Pay Attention!
The ad is brilliant in that it tells the story of Vibram and how they have been a shoe manufacturer for other companies for “almost 80 years”. They went to their clients with the idea about making a shoe with toes. Their clients thought the idea was “crazy”.
Our shoe manufacturing folks at Vibram demonstrated leadership in their industry by showcasing 5 Principles of Innovation for us to learn from and apply to our businesses and organizations that we own, manage or lead.
1st Innovation Principle
The first thing we learn from Vibram is that business owners who are convicted of their passion and product persevere. They believe in the quality of their idea and find a way to take it to the marketplace and test the validity of the idea in the market. That is what Vibram did in 2005.
2nd Innovation Principle
Next, all innovators know that confidence matched with time will carry forth rewards for their efforts and perseverance. Our shoe manufacturer did just that and over a few years the idea caught on like a grass fire on a dry, hot and windy summer day.
“Over the next few years, hundreds, then thousands, then millions of people…liked the idea”.
3rd Innovation Principle
I love the part of their ad where they emphasize the word “millions”. They go on to tell how their customers quickly became their competitors selling thin soled shoes with toes. You know as an innovator and business owner that you have reached a personal success point when your critics become your competitors based on the value and results you deliver to market.
4th Innovation Principle
Vibram ends with an even more powerful principle of innovation by taking the high road and embracing their critics by making lemonade out of lemons as the old cliché goes. They created a powerful movement called “crazy” and transformed criticism into results.
5th Innovation Principle
The last of our five innovation principles is that Vibram branded their story. Every business has a story about how the business came into existence. Businesses also have special processes and systems that they use each day to create and deliver their unique products and services. I’ve been a part of many businesses throughout my career where a business owner brands their story or unique process. This is often overlooked in the marketing of many businesses. Customers are curious and want to know what goes into the product and business that they invest their dollars and loyalty to.
Vibram leads the way in their simple statement of being “The Original Minimalist Shoe”. Great work Vibram!
In our next post, we will share with you the Samurai Innovation training guide to putting these 5 Principles of Innovation to work for you in your business or organization for greater business results.
Please leave a comment to let me know if you own a pair of Vibram shoes or what you think of their branding advertisement.