SBJ/November 21-27, 2011/Idea Innovators
Kevin Haley, Under Armour
Published November 21, 2011, Page 23
Senior Vice President, Innovation
So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Kevin Haley, who held such critical positions as general counsel and senior vice president of sports marketing for Under Armour, is now senior vice president of innovation.
“We all know innovation is in the roots of our company and is a critical strand in our DNA,” said Haley, a Securities and Exchange Commission attorney before joining Under Armour in 2005. “We realized that innovation was something that needed to be staffed and funded separately.”
Consequently, UA opened an innovations lab earlier this year at its Baltimore headquarters, complete with motion-capture cameras, an environmental chamber and a materials testing lab. Haley says not having to wait for materials and testing to be shipped back and forth from Asia, where they are manufactured, is key.
“Ultimately, we innovate by making something and breaking it again and again,” he said. “That cycle of ‘make it, break it, make it, break it,’ can be awfully slow if you are waiting six weeks each time.”
Now that Under Armour is a billion-dollar company, is innovation more difficult?
“To innovate, you need to be able to take some risk,” Haley said. “We’re still well-suited to doing that, and we’re getting better.”