posted: January 24, 2014
The heylululemon community rallied together to select the design making a return One More Time, and we’re now telling the story of the Savasana Wrap, from Sketchpad to Shelf.
As we move from stage to stage, we’ve been peeking behind the curtain to catch a glimpse of the design process behind our gear. And when it comes to the production of our garments, we’d be remiss not to talk about Whitespace™. If your next question is, logically, “What the heck is Whitespace™?” then lend us your ears.
Whitespace™ is lululemon athletica’s innovation team, a group of inventors, product scientists and business innovators who work together to create possibility for our company’s future. Whitespace™ is a beacon for innovation and curiosity that touches many of the stages of our product’s lifecycle.
Since the Whitespace™ team plays an integral but often misunderstood role in the research that goes into pushing the envelope with our gear, we thought we’d hand them the microphone for a moment to tell us what they do.
In their words, the Whitespace™ team shapes, surprises and engineers delight into the future guest experience through advanced innovation principles. Think about it this way: this crew goes beyond classic research and development methodologies into the realm of possibility for both body and mind within all of the places that our guests and lululemon choose to play together. They bring organized scientific rigor to all our sweat testing (aka product testing).
Sound cool? We thought so—though truthfully, it all still felt a little out of focus. So for clarity, we asked what the day in the life of a couple Whitespace™ team players looks like. Here’s what we found out:
A day in the life of an Inventor
An inventor’s day begins even before arriving at the office—probably while daydreaming his or her way through a daily dose of early morning exercise. While perusing the products in the studio foyer or a store they are passing, that puzzling prototype pops into their conscious. They grab a cup of coffee and as the caffeine kicks in, a light bulb moment puts a skip in their step as they enter the lululemon store support centre. With a fresh perspective, they dive into the workshop, a quick tweak here and there, and then up to their desk to check in with the rest of the team.
Overnight, the team’s myriad testers have filled the inventor’s inbox with data from the trials on that amazing new technology. Their brain churns through the feedback, and they design another testing opportunity to get to the bottom of that elusive answer.
They enroll their teammates to elevate their idea, and then are off into the “field,” to the library or to a far corner of the Internet where an interesting thread is taking shape. A quick distraction as the phone rings and the inventor is called into a meeting to explain how sweating really works. But then that updated prototype is ready, and maybe there’s time for a lunchtime session to put it through its paces.
By the afternoon, the inventor might get frustrated; there’s a phenomenon that they just don’t understand, so they research experts and start building relationships around the globe. By the time 5:30pm rolls around, though, they’ve hit a target, set a goal and changed the world just a little bit.
A day in the life of a Scientific Coordinator
For the scientific coordinator, a morning yoga session is just the right preparation for the calendar and growing database that awaits his or her arrival at the office. Overnight, the myriad global sweat testers have filled their inbox with some exciting results. Their brain churns through the feedback, they update their beautiful and user-friendly interface and get excited that this work could be published.
Enough with the day dreaming though, they’ve got a meeting with the raw materials team to help plan a study for that amazing new fabric. It is going to be a tricky one, not least because their calendar is telling them that the sweat testers are almost maxed out. It is a good thing that crazy calendar management is fun to them. This time the functionality is so unique though that a new experiment will need to be designed.
No time to pause, moving fast and working around compromises is what this role is all about—and besides, the local universities are the scientific coordinator’s best buddies and always happy to help.
After lunch they join their Whitespace™ teammates in presenting the findings of the two-year health study that has been part of keeping them busy, and the whole product team are invited.
It is no accident that the scientific coordinator’s organizational skills have brought them to this job that they love, working with the greatest products and facilities in the world to assist in exploring their capabilities and potential. By the time 5:30 rolls around, they’ve hit a target, set a goal and—hey, much like their Whitespace™ teammates, changed the world just a little bit.
Thanks for following along with heylululemon during One More Time! If you have questions about Whitespace™, our production process or are just wondering why the caged bird sings, drop us a note. We love to chat!