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Marrying Heritage and Expertise (INTERVIEW)

Jordan Vermillion, Director, Bushnell Outdoor Products
Katie Pagnotta
January 2nd, 2014
Jordan Vermillion, Director of Product Development at Bushnell Outdoor Products, has been with the passionate company for 18 years. Vermillion encourages his team to be outdoor enthusiasts and engage with the wide variety of products Bushnell has in its repertoire. Bushnell Outdoor Products has been a leader in high performance sports optics for 65 years. The company’s mission is to provide high quality, reliable and affordable products.

2 Questions with Jordan

What makes an innovative culture? How do you create a culture of innovation?


It has changed a lot since I started. The company has transitioned from solely working in optics and began to take risks. Our culture encourages taking risks and empowering people to try new things. An example of a risk we took was the creation of our ‘Velocity Speed Gun.’ When we developed it, we knew it was a small market and the focus groups indicated it wouldn’t be a great fit, but we took a chance regardless. This product is now a multimillion-dollar innovation and still a strong product category for us. We have married our heritage of optical expertise with technology. Through this and other innovations, we feel Bushnell brand has earned permission to play outside the traditional sports optics market.

Has there ever been an instance where another industry has influenced an innovation at your company?


We look outside our industry and commonly find inspiration in technology. When we look at the way Apple products work and the user experience, we want our products to be equally as simple and easy to use. When we add new features, we maintain a focus on making it easy for consumers to use our products. We learned the value of simplicity the hard way with an early GPS product. The device was feature-rich, but too complicated for most consumers. As a result, the product didn’t fare well. We learned from our mistake and carved out a niche in the GPS market we like to call “GPS Made Simple,” with a focus on simple, intuitive personal GPS devices we call 'BackTrack.’ The BackTrack product line aligns with our mission to enhance the consumer’s outdoor experience.
References: bushnell, shopbushnell