Nike Engages Innovators to Make an Impact

May 5, 2017 5:30 PM ET

With the complex challenges facing businesses today, it’s not uncommon for them to go beyond company walls in search of real-world solutions. Now, one company is opening its doors to all types of innovators from different walks of life to create a product that meets the needs of a diverse set of consumers.

Two years ago, Nike launched the FlyeEase shoe, designed in collaboration with high schooler Matthew Walzer, a Nike fanatic with cerebral palsy, who had written to Nike describing the difficulties of putting on traditional athletic shoes.  Since then, the company has worked to expand their footwear line for all athletes. In 2016, the company decided to invite non-employees to the design table by announcing the Nike Ease Challenge. The contest asked designers, engineers and innovators to advance and reinvent footwear designs for athletes of all abilities. The winning shoe designer would receive $50,000 and the chance to see their design come to life. In April, a judging panel that included Nike CEO Mark Parker, Olympian Carl Lewis and Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden picked a winner. 

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