FWAs disrupt creativity and innovation, says Nike CEO

Nike’s CEO has attributed the organisation’s lack of success these last few years to employees having to work remotely.
By: | April 16, 2024

While more organisations examine the possibilities of hybrid workforces and arrangements, critics of this trend have voiced their concerns about flexible work arrangements affecting the creativity and innovative boost from employees for productivity.

John Donahoe, CEO of Nike is the latest one of these critics, as he attributed Nike’s falling behind on new products and innovation on remote work last week, calling it difficult to be ‘disruptive’ when employees are working from home.

“What’s been missing is the kind of bold, disruptive innovation that Nike’s known for and when we look back, the reasons are fairly straightforward,” said Donahoe, in an interview with CNBC’s Sara Eisen from Paris. The CEO, using examples of Nike’s factories shutting down in Vietnam during the pandemic and employees from Nike working from home for 2.5 years, has opined that bold, disruptive innovation was difficult to do over online communications, let alone a boldly disruptive shoe. The Nike CEO, along with the team, has recognised this, and has since been realigning their work strategies, focused on “rebuilding their disruptive innovation pipeline”, as well as their “iterative innovation pipeline.” 

Consumers can expect to start seeing new product drops each season, as well as the fresh storytelling the brand has long been known for, shared Donahoe.

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These comments come at a time when Nike has been criticised for falling behind on innovation and losing market share to competitors, as well as announcing a broad restructuring plan to reduce costs by about US$2 billion over the next three years, and shedding more than 1,500 jobs, so it could invest in its growth areas, such as running, the women’s category and the Jordan brand.