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Constantly Pushing Creative Boundaries

Dale Bathum, Chief Product Officer, Crocs
Sarah St.Jules
February 26th, 2014
When it comes to comfortable footwear, there is no name more synonymous with that genre than Crocs. Ever since the clog style erupted, this company has been a household name. If you think all Crocs has to offer is the signature clog, you would be wrong. This innovative company has a wide product mix, and even has licensed programs with pop culture heavyweights such as Disney and Batman. Dale Bathum, the Chief Product Officer, oversees many of the innovations that has helped to elevate this company to new heights.

3 Questions with Dale Bathum

1. Do you have any specific rituals for resetting your team to be creative?
Being creative is all part of a process; it isn't a one-time event. On our calendar, for each season, is a brainstorming session that is off site. People need to prepare for this trip, and then we come together to share our ideas. We have rules that help push creativity. As an example, no one is allowed to dominate the conversation, and everyone's ideas have to be respected.

2. How do you identify trends? What resources does your team use to spot trends and consumer insights?
It's part of the process to try and get as many POVs as you can. However, there's nothing like going out and touching the consumer. We have retail stores, so we can go into the physical store and watch the customer and see how they interact with the merchandise, fixtures etc. Innovation needs to have a strategy because it needs to make sense to our customer. I think we all use similar trend and consumer resources, and it comes down to who is working the hardest and engaging the customer the most. We are all seeing the same 90% of information; it's a matter of what you do with the other 10% that counts.

3. What makes an innovative culture? How do you create a culture of innovation?
In order to create an innovation culture, innovation needs to be front and centre of your company. Our mission statement has the word innovation in it. Creating that type of culture is embedded into who we are, and it trickles down from the top. Where we are as a brand in the marketplace, to be successful we have to be innovative, and we need to make sure that it's embedded in our DNA.
References: linkedin, crocs