As one of a group of 150 highly motivated young minds experiencing the world of adidas for the first time, I remember being amazed by what this company has to offer as we watched our colleague Takashi Sato step on stage to introduce this exciting ‘ai3 interns’ challenge:

How does NEO find a place on the target consumer’s smartphone? Connect this to the physical retail store shopping experience.

The originators of the seven best ideas were then given the opportunity to present in front of more than 150 adidas employees from every level. All adidas interns were invited to participate. After hearing about the challenge for the first time, none of us wasted any more time and immediately started work on coming up with a great solution. I quickly learnt that every good idea needs quite some time to thrive and prosper. Some of us were inspired by monitoring our environment and people’s lifestyle or others went shopping and reflected their own shopping habits closely. Looking through the eyes of a teenager was pretty challenging, but as they’re the main target group for adidas NEO it wasn’t really something we could avoid. For us, it was important to figure out what is trending and popular for teenagers in order to be successful. Obviously we all considered our own experiences; after all, from an age perspective, we interns aren’t really that much older ourselves.

It might be a competition, but we are still all working towards the same goal

Inspiration also came in the form of my peers and colleagues, whose contributions formed a fundamental part of each idea. It’s all about a culture of collaboration. When it came to furthering ideas and improving presentation skills, members of my team came together to go through ideas and help my presentation become as professional as possible. Many of us also reached out to other departments and teams within adidas. It was great to see how willing they were to help and how interested everyone was in our concepts and the whole competition.

Getting the chance to present to 150 people

Our audience listened closely and had a lot of questions

Having finally made it to the last round, we had one last hurdle to overcome:
The great obstacle of nervousness. None of us had ever presented to such a large audience. So, just like athletes need a lot of practice to make their movements instinctual, a presenter needs a lot of practice to be successful. Knowing all of the slides and contents by heart enables a presenter to perform at the top of his/her capabilities, without thinking too much about one’s actions. With the right amount of practice, athletes and presenters will instinctively make the right decisions when it is game time.

Thanks for enabling us to shine!

All finalists and the jury

My main takeaway from the ‘ai3 interns’ challenge’ is what a great career step the participation has been for all of us: Learning to prioritise work and staying focused. Figuring out how to put an innovative concept into practice was like a rollercoaster ride. The project twisted and turned and ideas went in and out. As we had been dealing with a real business concept, this challenge was not just about having great ideas, but about staying realistic and finding a truly implementable solution.

Being the winner of this year’s challenge, I can only encourage each and every intern to participate. Steadily refining my idea and trying to make it stand out against the others, was definitely the most thrilling part of my internship. If you keep your eyes open for an extraordinary adidas NEO campaign, you may also witness my idea’s implementation in real life. Do you also love being creative and innovative? Show it to your friends and keep your network fresh by sharing this!


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