Director of Footwear Innovation

US, Washington, Seattle, Corporate
Research and Development
Full Time
Who We Are:
Brooks is a team of passionate people united by a desire to do meaningful work, lead healthy lives and make a difference. We share a focused mission: to inspire everyone to run and be active. That’s it. No distractions—it’s all about the run. Through science, creativity, service, authenticity and connection, we obsess over delivering the best running gear on the planet. We do it our way, with our unique spirit, with a goal of being more relevant to runners than any other brand, day after day and mile after mile. We are determined to innovate, challenging ourselves to lead thought at every turn. Inside these walls and on the roads, tracks and trails, we live and breathe Run Happy, celebrating the positive impact running has on our lives and others. We inject it into all we do because it makes everything better, smarter, more fun and more memorable. Our company culture defines us, bonds us together and creates the conditions for success. It is lived daily as a behavioral expression of our collective set of brand values: Connect with People, Innovate for our Customer, Compete as a Team, Build Trust, Have Fun & Bring Passion, and Be Active. If you’re on our team, it means you’re part of creating something extraordinary. You’re part of Brooks.

Your Job:
The Brooks Next innovation group is a team of world-class innovative minds collectively focused on improving the performance running experience through product, experiential and performance innovation. They constantly challenge assumptions of how products are made and together they shape the future of running footwear. They stretch the limits of science and human performance with every innovation and are relentlessly focused on changes that benefit the Brooks runner. They pioneer relationships with manufacturing partners and suppliers, uncovering new partnerships with global industry leaders to create innovation and bring new Brooks innovations to life. The Next team operates across the full range of product creation, merchandising, brand strategy, sourcing and new business development to relentlessly pursue methods to make better-performing, higher-quality and sustainable products faster and more efficiently than ever before.
As our Director of Footwear Innovation, neXt, you will utilize your expert leadership, management and strategic skills, along with your advanced products and process knowledge to create strategies, product, technologies, processes and experiences that will fuel the future of Brooks running and enable every runner to run their path to a better self.  You will manage collaborative programs within footwear and across the enterprise to discover opportunities, define clear objectives, scope research, develop resources and lead projects interactively.  You will lead multi-cultural teams around the globe and manage a collaborative, product creation process from insights to technology transfer to commercialization that will deliver products that challenge thought, deliver new running experiences and exceed runner expectations. 
To do this effectively you must be a confident and flexible leader of interdisciplinary teams where harmonious collaboration is imperative.  Your approach and point of view starts and ends with the runner; your sweet spot is the intersection of experience, business and technology. You must be insights driven and have an inherent ability to spot opportunities, create and nurture a cohesive vision, build out effective business plans and models and deliver impactful product and experiences to the runner. 

Direct Management Responsibility Functions:
- US Innovation Engineering & Development
- Asia Innovation Engineering & Development including Vietnam, China and Taiwan
- Lead the Advanced Lead Triad, consisting of functional Footwear leads in R&D; Design and Product Line Management
- Manage yearly budget

Your Responsibilities:

    • Management & Leadership:
    • Apply your expert management skillset to enable functional team members (Internal & External) to achieve their personal best and motivate them to higher levels of achievement.  Ensure the highest standards of Fit, Feel, Ride, Quality and Crafted Performance Beauty (Technical, Biomechanical, Experiential & Aesthetic).
    • Lead, manage, mentor and drive a global team in the creation of new products, technologies, philosophies, and business concepts that will fuel the Brooks future product engine.
    • Create and manage the innovation Idea to Runner i2r process including the execution of project development plans and schedules according to the strategic critical dates that lead to on–time delivery of samples, portfolio reviews, validation, technology transfers and final product/ technology confirmation and transfer.
    • Provide career-development planning, coaching, training and support for members of the global innovation team as well as other product and cross functional teams to create and foster a culture of learning, personal development, curiosity and innovation.
    • Manage and develop strategic partner (internal and external) relationships to cultivate new ideas and ensure support and alignment on all research and technology programs. 
    • Effectively manage the Brooks Innovation Portfolio.
    • Act as a technical expert within the Brooks Academy on relevant areas (Innovation, Performance, Technology, i2r process)

    • Planning & Strategy:
    • Collaboratively lead the Advanced Lead Triad: Work deeply with Design, Product Line Management, The Run Research Lab, R&D, and Manufacturing to visualize future desired runner experiences, needs and wants to develop a 3-5 year “North star” roadmap, technology portfolio and execution path. 
    • Express and share the vision, concepts and strategy through excellent visual, written, verbal communication and presentation skills throughout the product creation process to team members and key stakeholders across the organization.
    • Compile relevant opportunities and build effective business proposals to gain buy-in and secure resources to make the plan actionable.
    • Anticipate organizational needs and opportunities to support the growth of the business and the execution of the strategic roadmap.
    • Participate with footwear leadership on creation and execution of key strategic objectives and building a culture of Integrity, Unity, Curiosity, Empowerment and Optimism      

    • Concept Development:
    • Proactively manage teams and the technology portfolio through direct interaction with the innovation project teams.
    • Manage and facilitate teams through ideation on concepts, guiding them through synthesis, identifying potential opportunities and solutions, identifying clear action plans and executing against them through “fail fast, test & learn” rapid prototyping. 
    • Drive the implementation of new systems, process improvement, deliverable formats and so on to make the neXt process more efficient and results driven. 
    • Work with Business leadership on strategic initiative concepts, resourcing and development.  Assemble cross functional teams and manage projects through to completion. 

    • Communication/ Readiness:
    • Be the voice and face of innovation and neXt to internal and external stakeholders by taking complex ideas and turning them into relevant, impactful stories and benefits for the runner. 
    • Responsible for driving all internal strategic footwear innovation meetings throughout the creation process to obtain alignment and readiness for transfer with Product, Business, Legal, Manufacturing and R&D.
    • Architect and develop effective Tech Transfer plans in conjunction with Product Line Management, Development, Design, Legal and Manufacturing to ensure readiness and efficient transitions of technology and best practices across the organization.  


    • Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, Design, Biomechanics or other applicable technical degrees.  Master’s preferred.
    • 12+ years of experience in product innovation creating technically driven product
    • 7+ successful years of experience leading teams in the creation of cutting edge, high performance footwear & innovation technology programs.  High level Engineering, Development, Project Management or Design experience preferred.
    • Proven ability to lead and develop global product teams and influence cross-functional teams in a collaborative, team oriented, complex global environment in order to meet strategic business and product objectives.
    • Superior knowledge and technical expertise in footwear product creation with an advanced knowledge of the total footwear construction process and a strong understanding of manufacturing capabilities, anticipating issues, problem solving with timely resolution.
    • Excellent interpersonal skills with a demonstrated ability to inspire and develop trust and highly productive relationships with individuals and teams that are made up of diverse disciplines and cultural backgrounds resulting in effective working relationships across the company
    • Strong verbal and written communication skills, with an advanced ability to communicate new ideas, concepts and functional expertise within project teams and to external stakeholders.  Has an ability to translate technical jargon into stories that resonate with the laymen.  Demonstrates a high level of presentation skills and abilities.
    • Strong project management skills with proven success building action plans and leading teams to execute against complex projects and multiple functions.  Keen attention to detail in planning, organization and execution of tasks (self and through others), while still seeing the big picture and understanding how all of the pieces fit together and affect one another.
    • Must demonstrate a detailed and extensive expertise and application of business development principles and concepts. 
    • Ability to anticipate how a decision made can affect our customers, our partners, our products or other departments’ operations and/or morale; “connecting the dots.”
    • Curious and open minded; always open for a challenge, inventive, creative. With the ability to challenge the status quo – always looking at improving our products and processes while also displaying a willingness to dive into the details. 
    • Passionate participation in Brooks’ sports activities a plus, overridden by the ability to understand and empathize with the runner in order to develop loyal, engaging relationships with our customers and the Brooks community.
    • International and domestic travel as required to achieve a high level of team, product and technology development.  Including visits to manufacturing facilities, R&D partners, retail stores and consumers to assist in the creation, development, commercialization and integration of our products.  Travel 15 – 20%. 
    • Strong computer skills including experience with Illustrator, Smart Sheets, MS Office software.
    • Embraces and lives the Brooks values!
At Brooks, we celebrate diversity & equity. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment, and encourage people of all backgrounds, perspectives, experiences, and skills to apply. Brooks is proud to be an equal employment opportunity employer. All employment decisions are made without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, the presence of a sensory, physical or mental disability, medical condition, military status, marital status, pregnancy or child birth, sexual orientation, age, genetic information, status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, political ideology, or any other non-merit based factors.