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Mark Parker Quotes

Mark Parker NikeMark Parker quotes: things said by the former swoosh CEO.

“Be a sponge.  Curiosity is life.  Assumption is death.  Look around.”

“Whatever you fix your eyes on is what you will encourage.”

“We all have challenges but challenges have always made us better and stronger.”

“Observing is really the fuel to innovating, ultimately.”

“I think real innovation and creativity can come from everywhere.”

“I think a really great creative person is almost by nature incredibly curious and digging deeply into cultures and technologies and getting all this input and using it to make things better – basically, creating better solutions.”

“I’m drawn to talented, creative people who often just don’t know how to support themselves.  They’re more focused on their work than trying to figure that out.”

“I tend to gravitate toward people who are a bit more eccentric and creative and artistic in some ways.  And I like bringing disparate kinds of creative people together to create some great work, even to share points of view on a new direction.”

“The best innovation comes from inclusive work environments that foster diverse ideas, nurture people with diverse talent and backgrounds, and create strong relationships with diverse communities.”

“I just really enjoy the process of working with other talented, creative people.  There’s great power in bringing diverse points of view together.  It can be incredibly stimulating.”

“One way a collaboration can go wrong is if your connection is inauthentic or overly prescriptive.”

“The biggest sources of opportunity are collaboration and partnership.  And today, with digital communication, there is more of that everywhere.  We need to expose ourselves to that as a matter of doing business.”

“Collaboration among individuals, brands, and industries will only continue to accelerate as technology facilitates and enables greater connection in real time from anywhere in the world.  It’s why we’re experiencing such an unprecedented pace of innovation in every aspect of our lives.”

“At a big company, often size turns into constipation; it fogs the lens about what’s really happening.  Sometimes with size and success comes the notion that since we’ve done things to be successful, we have the formula and can institutionalize it.  That can be death.”

“Sustainability at Nike means being laser-focused on evolving our business model to deliver profitable growth while leveraging the efficiencies of lean manufacturing, minimizing our environmental impact and using the tools available to us to bring about positive change across our entire supply chain.  We’ve made significant progress in these areas.  But as we all know at Nike, there is no finish line.”

“Sustainability is not merely an addendum to core operation.  Sustainability will be at the nexus of transformations in business, economies and markets, and will continue to evolve business to ensure ability to grow profitably, and to lead.”

“When you work in a culture that thrives on innovation and is constantly moving into uncharted territory, you’re going to hit dead ends.  But to be successful over the long-term, remember what you’ve learned and move on from it quickly.”

“One of my biggest sources of angst is having people so comfortable with a formula that works that they are not challenging themselves or their ideas.”

“It’s about getting the right team in place and then supporting them.”

“It’s always a balancing act.  There is this magnetic pull to focus more on the short-term, the immediate, the quarter-to-quarter.  And then there’s a sense of, f*ck that, we are going to go out here and really create the future.  And we need to do both.  I have to live that tension.”

“No one works harder at inspiring athletes all over the world than our team at Nike.  Creating those experiences requires an amazing amount of energy, a steady flow of big ideas to excite and surprise people, and a constant dialogue that connects us on a personal level.”

“Competing for athletes that represent Nike is what we do.  I’d like to think the pursuit of helping the athlete realize their potential is what helps us realize our own potential.  We always look for the best athletes – not only to gain the insight to create the innovation but to represent the brand.  The value for us is not only having the athlete wearing the product but their involvement with the whole innovation process.  It’s a competitive market out there, but we like to think the reputation we have, the commitment to the athlete, is what brings them to us as well.  It’s not just us out there hunting.  We have athletes coming to us, telling us their dream as a young athlete was to some day come and be part of the Nike family.  It works both ways.”

“I love design, so it’s important for me to have a creative outlet.  Everything starts with design.”

“Design is an iterative process.  One idea often builds on another.”

“The role of design at a company is to allow you to recreate yourself, to allow your company to find a new way of success before the old way fails.”

“Designers are by nature more inquisitive, more connected.  They dig a little deeper in terms of insights.  They turn those insights into innovation.  That connection to the consumer is absolutely critical in driving innovation.  It’s critical that design isn’t subjugated to the back room as a short order cook for marketing or for merchandising or sales.  It has to be up front.”

“You don’t always have to start over to create an emotional reaction to your product.  It’s always powerful to deliver a breakthrough, but there’s also a true art to making something great even better.”

“The digital and physical worlds are starting to come together more seamlessly – it’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what’s coming.”

“Connecting today is a dialogue.”

“Companies and people look at the pace of change as a challenge, an obstacle, a hurdle.  Look at it as opportunity: get on the offense.”

“One of the challenges of innovation is challenging a set model.  A traditional way to manufacture footwear existed for hundreds of years.  Now we have a whole new way.”

“You have to be open to ideas from different parts of the company, from different parts of the world.”

“The thing with technology and innovation… is that there is so much potential.”

“You can’t always predict the winners.  Perfection is not possible in a world of flux.  We’re not always right.  But as long you go with change, instead of fighting it, the company moves in the right direction.  We try to help accelerate the change ourselves.  If you get that it’s an opportunity, you’ll want to.”

“In difficult times, it’s important to speak up.  We cannot change the past, but we can impact the future.”

“It’s impossible to leave our emotions and experiences outside the work place – they inform us and make us who we are.”

“I ran over 10 years without missing a day, averaging close to 15 miles.  I loved being able to run a long distance and get that feeling of strength and exhilaration from being in good shape.  There was a meditative quality about it.  Almost effortlessness.  That’s a special feeling.”

“I was a pretty independent kid.  I thought maybe I’d be a veterinarian or an environmental lawyer.”

“I have sketched since a young age, so there’s always been an artistic side, a visual side to my personality.”

“I’m inspired by visual stimulation.  I’m a relentless sketcher.  It goes back to how you process the world around you – the whole left-brain, right-brain thing.  Some people are data-driven.  I’ve always been more visual.”

“I’m a product geek.  I’m obsessed with working with product, with the athletes, and to see the potential that exists just with the technology.”

“When I travel, I connect with creative people in all different fields and disciplines.  It’s sort of just to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s going on.  I think that’s important.”

“Regardless of whether or how you worship, where you come from or who you love, everyone’s individual experience is what makes us stronger as a whole.”

“The strongest, most compelling, and most useful things in life are irreducible – love, truth, faith, honor.”

Related: Bill Bowerman quotes.

Cory Johnson: CEO of a business he has yet to launch. As seen on your mom’s phone. Scaled to 7-figures in seven seconds selling a course on selling courses. Kidding. Watch this.