Ideas
Explore the world's #1 largest database of ideas and innovations, with over 500,000 inspiring examples.
Trend Reports
Discover why 900 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Newsletter
Join 288,288 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
Consumer Insights
Uncover major shifts and emerging opportunities with our exclusive PRO research.
Trend Reports
Discover why 900 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Newsletter
Join over 250,000 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
Dashboard
Get special access to premium content, topic tracking and customizable tools through our AI-powered Dashboard.
AI + Human Methodology
Learn how Trend Hunter harnesses the power of artificial intelligence.
Assessment
Enhance your innovation potential with a deeper understanding of your unique innovation archetype and how your organization benchmarks.
eLearning (NEW)
Prepare for the year's ahead with 100+ lessons, tactics, tools and frameworks with our full learning database.
Advisory & Services
Accelerate innovation and ignite disruptive thinking with our award-winning programs and research.
Trend Reports
Get fast, customized trend reports, presentations and deep dives 20x faster than traditional research.
Plans
Get started today with a free consultation, our self-serve tools, or a dedicated program.
Jeremy Gutsche
Ignite your event or virtual event with our CEO, a NY Times Bestselling Author and one of the top innovation keynote speakers.
Our Team of Speakers & Virtual Presenters
Inspire your group with our most popular speakers on innovation, trends, change and futurism.
Custom Training & Events
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team or co-hosted custom event.
Contact
Get in touch to learn more, ask a question or submit a tip.
About Us
Learn more about Trend Hunter and how we accelerate innovation.
FAQ
Get answers to common questions about Trend Hunter.
Community
Stay on the cutting-edge with the help of the Trend Hunter community.
Team
Meet the team trusted by hundreds of leading businesses worldwide.
Jobs
Find opportunities to accelerate your career with the #1 Trend Firm.
News
Catch up on noteworthy Trend Hunter news and media mentions.
Join
Build a portfolio and put your trend-spotting abilities to the test.
Advertising
Supercharge your marketing by partnering with Trend Hunter.
Portfolio
Visit your public portfolio and browse your past articles.
Add a Trend
Write up an article and showcase your trend-spotting skills.
My Trends
Edit your articles and see how they stack up on the leaderboards.
Settings
Edit your profile, connect your social media accounts, and more.
Add a trend, customize your dashboard, or track topics.
Future Festival
Innovation Events
Join the world's top innovators at our FREE Virtual events.
Free Webinars
During COVID-19, learn to innovate through chaos, navigate the new normal and maintain work culture from home.
Custom Training & Events
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team or co-hosted custom event.
Search our database of 389,734 cutting edge ideas.

The Importance of Innovation Empowerment (INTERVIEW)

Stuart Jenkins, VP of Innovation at Deckers
Jonathon Brown
October 3rd, 2013
Stuart Jenkins is currently Vice President of Innovation at Deckers Outdoor Corporation, but has spent a lifetime working on both sides of innovation. At only 18 years old, Stuart started working for an inventor and witnessed creative genius firsthand when he thought of the single handle water faucets . In 1986, Stuart brought his idea for the first air shoe to 94 companies before Reebok finally licensed it and created 100 million dollar category. Stuart went from bringing tech innovations to the shoe industry (in the form of graphite composites, light shoes, etc.) to working within the industry at Deckers and looking to acquire them. While he's been a part of some pretty disruptive individual ideas in his time, Stuart remains committed to developing a broader culture of innovation at Deckers where every end of the organization feels empowered.

4 Questions with Stuart Jenkins

1. How do you motivate your team to come up with good ideas?


If I have to motivate my team, I have the wrong team. I think of how to inspire my team. If I have to kick them out of the bed in the morning, I’ve got the wrong people. Our CEO believes in inspirational speakers, not motivational speakers. We are open to new ideas and our employees know that. If something comes up, they have a real chance to put their idea into place here. What motivates people is productivity or seeing their idea move forward into commercialization. So long as they know that’s a real possibility, it’s going to get built up and not torn down, they will innovate. So, that's been my strategy.

2. How do you identify trends? What resources does your team use to spot trends and consumer insights?

You find the pain. If there’s a rock in your shoe, what do you do? You pull it out. You don’t expect some guy to come across the parking lot and do it for you. If you find the pain, fix the pain. To have the freedom to fix the pain is how we think of where to look for spaces to find innovation.

3. What is the biggest obstacle you face when innovating?
Human nature is nobody wants to change. The only ones that want change are babies with wet pants. I remind people that all progress requires change, but not all change is progress, and therein lies the challenge. We try to point out that failure to change is more risky than the change. In ten years, 237 Fortune 500 companies have fallen off the list because they didn’t change. We have to reset people’s expectation of risk. You’re risking success, but you’re guaranteeing failure if you’re not changing.

4. What makes an innovative culture? How do you create a culture of innovation?
People have to be empowered. The leader has to be into it; it can’t be the assistant. The CEO has to set the pace. Nothing fertilizes the farm better than the footprint of the owner. You can’t fake caring about innovation; you do or you don’t. We have to model the behavior that we want. We have to innovate and empower others to innovate, so they go into the brands or the corporation and make a difference. You have to promote innovation and let people know and celebrate the results. You empower, do it, talk about it, celebrate it.
References: linkedin, deckers