Director Digital Innovation

Shanghai | China (Peoples Republic of) | Digital
  1. General Purpose

As Director Digital Innovation in adidas Digital and China Digital Hub, you are accountable for driving a wide innovation scope that will bring the adidas organization into the next frontier of technologies and experiences that will be critical to engaging our consumers in China and securing the digital leadership of our brand.

This role is driving innovative ideas and fostering collaborative internal and external partnerships. This role will lead teams to identify, imagine, create, validate, and transition disruptive digital experiences that will solve significant challenges for our consumers and adidas. Ultimately, these innovations will deliver significant financial and NPS results and create outstanding customer experiences at the boundaries of technical advancement.

  1. Key Responsibilities 

Scope:  Accountable for a wide innovation scope or focus

Each resource within the Digital Innovation family might have a stronger focus on some of the following categories.

  1. Research and Exploration
  • Drive overall exploration, understanding and assessment of startups, agencies, and major players in the emerging tech space.
  • Drive the assessment and manage a portfolio of strategic partnerships (incl. accelerator & start-ups) to support innovation & growth.
  • Identify key consumer and technical trends and elevate opportunities and challenges that are specific to the adidas business to inform ideation.
  • Lead engagements with alternative innovation models including hackathons, incubators, academic programs and accelerators.
  1. Innovation Strategy & Roadmap
  • Be a key contributor to the Digital Innovation strategy and roadmap.
  • Be a key contributor to the ideation process, generating innovative and business relevant ideas, representing the own area of expertise. Contribute to the prioritization process that will help determine quarterly and yearly priorities for research, projects and pilots.
  • Drive the realization of the Digital Strategy by leading the overall portfolio of strategic partnerships, bringing external innovation into our organization.
  • Formulate and deliver thought leadership material to appropriate stakeholders in Digital in order to inform strategy, ecosystem development, and product strategy  
  1. Innovation Piloting
  • Partner with key stakeholders to provide solution thinking in creation, prioritization, and validation of relevant innovation hypotheses to solve consumer and brand challenges.
  • Lead multidisciplinary teams to identify, prototype, pilot and validate the value of consumer-facing innovations, collaborating with stakeholders in IT, Markets, Brand and Digital. Define key metrics for pilots and assessments that align with business goals.
  • Lead execution of pilots including conception, implementation, measurement, and in the case of ‘successful’ pilots, transition to the operational teams.
  • Lead or accompany contracting processes for pilot purposes, involving all relevant parties to ensure adidas interests are protected in the course of co-development of innovative pilots and prototypes.
  • Manage vendor and agency relationships from selection and negotiation throughout project implementation.
  • Create and deliver training materials for pilot transition to business operational ownership.
  • Create and deliver actionable reports recapping pilot performance for a diverse audience of internal business and brand partners.
  1. Networking & Collaboration
  • Identify and foster relationships with innovation teams within key players in the industry to position adidas as a partner for innovation.
  • Build a network of internal and external partners to understand and connect the internal strategy with consumer and technological trends that will allow definition of pilot priorities.
  • Develop, leverage and maintain a highly effective network of agencies, startups, digital leaders, and alternate innovation models (accelerators, incubators, matchmakers, etc) to augment the knowledge, skills, and capacity of the internal team to deliver on our innovation mission.
  • Participate in relevant industry events and innovation labs as a speaker, panelist, and attendee to build a network and elevate adidas as a company that is invested in and pursuing innovation.
  1. „If required“ Responsibilities
  1. Innovation Process & Methods
  • Lead innovation program development ensuring consistent and efficient ideation, prioritization, planning, implementation, and measurement of digital innovation pilots.
  • Provide work management and collaboration methods and tools that support the innovation program and pilot process.
  • Plan and optimize internal and external resources to ensure speed and quality of delivery. Allocate work considering complexity and experience level.
  1. User Experience
  • Lead the user experience practice within digital innovation, inclusive of primary and secondary consumer research, trend mapping, and the design practice inclusive of agency selection and management.
  • Formulate hypotheses to be tested and create rapid design prototypes to simulate experiences across multiple UI including desktop, mobile, and physical experiences.
  • Lead UX of prototypes and pilots including user journey mapping, interface design and consumer testing.
  1. Technical Assessments & Prototyping
  • Lead assessment of the overall technical landscape to understand, identify and educate stakeholders about the emerging technologies that will be most impactful on adidas and our consumers.
  •  Lead technical assessments of potential partnerships or solutions, with the objective of understanding viability in the adidas environment.
  • Create integration approaches for technical innovation, in collaboration with internal and external teams during pilot implementations.
  • Initiate and lead rapid prototypes of ideas in response to innovation opportunities.
  1. People Management
  • Create a supportive work environment in which employees are coached, trained and provided with career opportunities through development.
  • Continuously monitor and evaluate team workload and organizational efficiency with the support of data and team feedback and make appropriate changes in order to meet business needs.
  • Provide team members/direct reports with clear direction and targets that are aligned with business needs and Digital objectives.
  1. Key Relationships:
  • Digital Leadership and China Leadership
  • Company Strategy & Brand Strategy Key Interfaces & China Business Development
  • Global Digital and Brand organizations
  • Global and local Sales organizations
  • Global IT and Global Operations
  • External startups, agencies, and key innovation leaders
  • Newsrooms
  • Concept to Consumer
  1. Requirements
  1. Education & Professional Experience
  • Ideally Master degree in Business, IT or related field.
  • +10 years of experience in a combination of IT and Business eCommerce experience.
  • Proven experience in managing global projects
  • Track record of building and developing highly engaged and productive cross-functional teams.
  • Experience in establishing a new practice in an organization
  • Experience in agile/SCRUM execution
  • Experience in leading a team is a plus
  1. Soft-Skills
  • Passion for innovation and proven ability to deliver this through a global organization
  • Ability to drive small & large teams to solutions on production and project issues, including teams of internal business customers and external vendors.
  • Excellent problem solving skills – able to identify, analyze and propose solutions to various consumer, technical and business issues
  • Excellent presentation skills: specifically, the ability to create, plan and deliver presentations to technical and nontechnical audiences as well as senior leadership
  • Ability to communicate clearly and effectively to internal and external clients and vendors, both verbally and in writing
  • Action-oriented with the ability to multi-task and discern priorities.
  1. Hard-Skills
  • Deep understanding of end-to-end digital experiences, processes and platforms
  • Expert knowledge of underlying processes and applications e.g. eCommerce, ERP, Omnichannel
  • Fluent in English both verbally and written


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adidas celebrates diversity, supports inclusiveness and encourages individual expression in our workplace. We do not tolerate the harassment or discrimination toward any of our applicants or employees. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

At adidas, every day is a chance to flip the script. An invitation to take everything we know and re-invent it. Do it better. Never settling for good enough. Every day we get up, invent, adapt, improvise, find new ways to collaborate, and do the unexpected. We’re creators, makers and doers. Helping athletes make a difference, not just in their games, but in their lives and in their world. It’s an obsession.

We’ve been doing this for more than 65 years. With an unmatched history and tradition of creating iconic products, consumer connections and experiences, we’ve been defining sport culture since the beginning. And we’re never done. Come be a part of shaping the future together with us.

The Facts

Jobtitle Director Digital Innovation
Team Digital
Brand adidas
Location Shanghai
Country China (Peoples Republic of)
Number 189529
Position Type Full time
Date Jan-14, 2019
Relocation no

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adidas is a global leader in the sporting goods industry with the core brands adidas and Reebok. Headquartered in Herzogenaurach /Germany, the company employs more than 56,000 people across the globe and generated sales of € 21 billion in 2017. In Greater China, the company employs more than 5,700 people and generated sales of over € 3.7 billion in 2017. adidas China was founded in 1997 and headquartered in Shanghai, one of adidas’ six key cities across the globe. With a population of 24 million, Shanghai is the largest city in China – and eighth largest in the world. It's the country's most important center for culture, commerce, and industry. Sometimes referred to as the "Paris of the East'," Shanghai prides itself for being a fashion capital as well. Shanghai is also the headquarter of adidas Asia-Pacific market which is crucial to achieving the brand’s mission to be the best sports company in the world.

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