Digital Product Innovation & Engineering for a Global Athletic Consumer Brand

Research & Development and Data Management

Looking to build better digital or physical products? Need a partner capable of building the engineering teams, harnessing the data, and designing the product delivery group that will help you achieve your product vision? Look to Launch.

Procurement is like dating

When you bid out work, you’re hoping to find a partner that understands you. One that’s worth the investment. One that will click well enough to develop a flourishing long-term relationship that looks toward the future.

For our client, a global athletic consumer brand focused on innovating the way its customers experience sport, life, and the company’s products…we clicked.

Since 2014, we’ve worked across 26 departments within the company, providing the expertise they need to forge the future of the athletic consumer goods industry. That includes finding and staffing over 300 people—80% of whom have been hired by the company at the end of their Launch contract.

Clearly, Launch understands what works for this client.

A man lifting a barbell

Fueling innovation with engineering pods

That’s why in 2019, the company invited us to be the single consulting partner helping them fuel their innovation incubator. Since then, our ‘pods’ of engineers within the company—around 18 people total from our Software Engineering Studio—have focused on research and development. Each pod works on mobile and web-based product pilots to test and present.

The pilots that the company finds most valuable? We build them for the market. Then we get back to the drawing board for the next opportunity.

We’re honored to be an ongoing part of this visionary division because we know just how challenging it is to bring in outside partners for top-secret work. It takes a lot of trust, and we’re gratified by the trust our client has instilled in our partnership.

Securing, supporting, and using company data

Naturally, this company has lots of sensitive and proprietary data. They turned to Launch’s Data & AI Studio to help secure, parse, store, and manage the data that supports our embedded product engineering pods.

These research lab systems build digital and physical products based on data. Being able to access lots of consumer and product data—and find the right data within that huge pool—means the pods can create the best product possible.

Aerial view of a basketball court

Outside perspective meets internal stronghold

What are the outcomes of our partnership with this athletic consumer giant? They’re always evolving, but so far we’ve helped the company:

  • Launch a global social athletics app 
  • Launch a global online research and testing program
  • Build and iterate on 3-4 other product pilots
  • Staff 26 departments across the company

Here’s how our client agrees we add value:

  • Higher caliber of people and better delivery consistency than other suppliers
  • Economies of scale thanks to our partnership’s continuity and longevity
  • Understanding of what it takes to deploy products at both small and large scale at one of the world’s biggest employers
  • Combination of deep internal understanding plus outside perspective and support from Launch Studio expertise
Slow shutter, blurry picture of soccer player shooting a ball at the goalkeeper and net

The importance of pilots

Some might think it’s a little strange to staff multiple engineering pods purely focused on creating product pilots in the hopes that one might be worth bringing to market. However, Launch Managing Director of AI Kevin McCall says that pilots have never been more crucial to business success.

The age of AI “has increased the importance of an assessment and initial workshops to prioritize and calibrate your approach,” he explains. These days, “it’s much more important to know exactly where the potential customer is, so the discovery phase is critical because it allows you to really zero in on the focus, goals, etc.

“You can propose and execute the right [product] for the right outcomes,” he concludes. “Then leadership can decide how to proceed.”

Global industry leaders who help direct the market need to be sure that any product they build is going to go the distance. For this company, they continue to trust in Launch to envision and build those products.

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