Innovation at Timberland: Thinking Outside the Shoe Box

Case Solution

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Ryan L. Raffaelli
Harvard Business School ()

Innovation was part of Timberland’s legacy. In 2005, CEO Jeff Swartz and COO Ken Pucker expected the Invention Factory, an advanced concept laboratory, to develop innovative new products and revitalize the company’s culture of innovation. Timberland has been innovating since the 1960s, developing the world’s first waterproof boot and, in the 1980s, category-defining boat shoes and hiking boots. The development of variations on these core products along with expansion into the apparel industry had sustained Timberland’s business for more than 30 years. Timberland’s growth over the past six years has been driven by increased international sales and new customer segments. As Timberland executives looked to the future, they hoped that Doug Clark, a biomechanical engineer, and his team at the Invention Factory would bring a scientific approach to developing the next generation of Timberland products and ideas. The team had to convince those in the core business to adopt their new ideas and integrate them back into the product line.

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