June 5, 2017

Wade Flanagan: Tauranga Boy Cooking Up a Storm in Nike's Innovation Kitchen

Wade Flanagan: Tauranga Boy Cooking Up a Storm in Nike's Innovation Kitchen

Wade Flanagan is a local boy whose done pretty well for himself. Wade, an Tauranga Boys' College student, is an Innovation Developer in Nike HQ’s innovation kitchen. He describes his role for the global multi-billion dollar sports business as a childhood dream.

This year, YiA short-listers in the Junior and Senior category get to join Wade for a workshop at the Adams Centre for High Performance – a world-class gym for NZ's top athletes. You get to tour the gym and jam with one of the Nike design team.

Oh, and did I mention you'll walk away with a Nike hoodie? Thanks Nike!

Let's hear why Wade is so keen to fly home and be part of YiA this winter.

Q: Why did you want get involved with YiA?

I am proud of where I come from and grateful for the education I received growing up in NZ. Being involved with YIA is an opportunity for me to give back and to support a great organisation that inspires innovation and entrepreneurship among students. I’m excited to get back to Tauranga and see all the work that is happening in the local innovation incubators and industry that will ultimately create new opportunities for the region.

Q: What's your favourite innovation of all time?

I would have to say electricity. The advent of electricity was a true revolution that would ultimately improve the lives of everyone on the planet.

Q: What's the most expensive innovation you have ever splashed out on?

Probably the first laptop I purchased when I moved to the US. Laptops used to be quite expensive but I wanted the portability so it was an innovation I was willing to pay for.

Q: Describe what’s it like to work at Nike HQ in three words.

Inspiring. Challenging. Fun.

Q: What's your one piece of advice to our entrants?

Don’t ever lose sight of the customer. Innovation can often be secretive, leading to endless conversations where we often end up essentially talking to ourselves. The sooner you can test with and gather real feedback from your user the better. So often they raise issues that you didn’t even think about, or put to rest concerns that might be non-issues.

Keen to hear more from Wade? He will be speaking at the YiA Forum on 10th August. Buy tickets to the fast-selling event here, and make sure to sign up to our mailing list for more exciting YiA news.

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