Celebrating the Nike Design with Grind Challenge Top Ideas

Exploring five innovative ideas with the potential to help create a more circular world

The future demands a transition to a circular economy—a world in which materials can be used and reused at their highest potential. In 2018, Nike and OpenIDEO came together to launch the Nike Design with Grind Challenge asking innovators to partner with us in answering the question:

How might we create a waste-free, circular future by designing everyday products using Nike Grind materials?

Over 500 teams from around the world joined the Challenge, and after months of concept development, prototyping and iteration, we are excited to announce our Design with Grind Challenge Top Ideas Winners. Please join us in congratulating these teams on their hard work and dedication to a circular future—we know this is just the beginning.

TOP IDEA GRAND PRIZE

YOGO

Combining Nike's beautiful recycled materials with YOGO's trusted brand and innovative product pipeline is the perfect way to showcase an attractive circular product stream, and advance a successful recycled product offering that raises the bar in the yoga industry. Yoga practitioners are predominantly athletic, and environmentally-conscious, hungry for practical innovation, and possibly the perfect customers to support a shift to more sustainable materials.

"Yoga practitioners are predominantly athletic, and environmentally-conscious, hungry for practical innovation, and possibly the perfect customers to support a shift to more sustainable materials." 
         — JESSICA THOMPSON, YOGO TEAM

TOP IDEA WINNERS

InShape Mattress

The InShape Mattress is a versatile, comfortable cushioning system developed specifically for the needs of children with Rett Syndrome. The Milan-based team paired makers with physical therapists who were inspired to make a more adaptable, affordable and environmentally-friendly therapeutic mattress.

This team was inspired by the idea that creativity can "close the circle" and transform the output of a process into input for something new, proof of how much design thinking can do.

This stands as a great example of how reusing and recycling doesn't mean to compromise on the value of the product: “using the Nike Grind for InShape Mat, is not a fall back, it's an improvement.”

"This stand as a great example of how reusing and recycling doesn't mean to compromise on the value of the product: using the Nike Grind for InShape Mat, is not a fall back, it's an improvement." 
         — INSHAPE MATTRESS TEAM

Circular Cities

Imaging how circular cities might look, feel and operate in the future made this six-member team come to life. Their solution utilized Nike Grind as a core ingredient in traffic-calming devices, which aim to make cities safer for pedestrians and cyclists, ultimately encouraging a shift towards more eco-friendly transportation. This team felt that participating was a no-brainier, and found the experience to be a fun, collaborative and rewarding experience.

"The OpenIDEO / Nike Grind Challenge provided an exciting opportunity to test a design philosophy that, we as a group, shared mutual interest in making a reality."
         — CIRCULAR CITIES TEAM

PDD Climbing Holds

PDD Kicks has created rubber granulate indoor climbing holds. The holds have proven successful in multiple iterations testing different grip types and shapes. This product design duo were inspired by both footwear design and rock climbing when they joined the Design with Grind Challenge. 

"Rapid consumption has always been a impression of footwear industry, I thought it would be a exciting challenge to change that impression through design and Nike grind is the perfect material and also great medium to spread the way of thinking sustainability."
         — TUO LEI, PDD KICKS TEAM

Stuffed

Stuffed developed a way to reform Nike Grind Rubber Granulate into an eco-friendly composite material that can be used as an alternative to plastic, and implemented this innovation into a sleekly designed set of furniture. Inspired by the Challenge to design sustainably and with circularity in mind, the team tested numerous versions of Nike Grind material for furniture and came up with both structural and cushioning applications. 

"It’s exciting to try and work towards a more healthy innovative future with companies that are so well established and innovating within their industries." 
         — STUFFED TEAM

Felicia Chiao

San Francisco, USA

Felicia Chiao is an industrial designer and illustrator based in San Francisco. By day, she works as an industrial designer for IDEO's Design for Food team, and at night she has been drawing in sketchbooks for over seven years, mostly for fun.

Felicia's Design Tips

"When starting a composition, create an anchor first and then build around it. The anchor can be the focus of the piece (like an object/animal/person) or a setting (interior, beach, city, etc.) and the rest of the elements drawn in after should support it."

You don’t need to know what the whole drawing is going to look like when you start it. Start with what you know and build into it as you go. If you don't enjoy what you're making it will show, so if something you're working on doesn't feel right, bite the bullet and start over instead of wasting time overworking it. I work mostly with markers, which often limits my choice of colors for the color palette, but you can start with the colors you know you will use (a red apple, blue water, etc) and then looking at your palette, pick which other colors would go well with what you have.

Erika Díaz Gómez

Bógota, Colombia

Erika was born in Colombia and loves creating stories without words. She thinks that telenovelas are more interesting than science fiction.

Erika's Design Tips

"Create your own personal and technical rules; fail, win and be patient."

Learn from yourself. Document, revisit and appreciate what you designed in the past. Explore your personal craft and celebrate your creator's identity. Make and repeat. Go analog, explore both your personal and craft's constraints, and don't let your commercial work take over. Art and side projects are the best teachers.

May Kodama

Oakland, USA

May is a true-crime-podcast-listening, plant caring, constantly eating, Japanese-American graphic designer. She strives to make good design, travel the world, and become the mother of five dogs at some point in her life.

May's Design Tips

"Try limiting your color palette to 1-5 colors, and even limit the shades of those colors. Explore how simply you can communicate depth and perspective with the layering of the limited palette. You can start with monochrome in pure black and white, before layering the additional complexity of color."

Always be hungry for discovery. The thing that motivates me the most is experimentation and exploration. I'm always looking for new mediums to try out and play in, whether it be in 2D, 3D, digital, motion, etc. I find that as long as I'm constantly doing and learning something new, I stay inspired and excited about the work. However, don’t look at too much inspiration. Sometimes, I can get lost on the Pinterest train, clicking into link after link after link. Visual overload can crowd and push out your own ideas, so be careful to balance looking externally and looking internally. Inspiration can only help so much. Save space for your own creativity to flow.

Allison Press

Oakland, USA

Allison is an interaction designer and strategist at IDEO on a mission to design for the public good. Whether it’s improving how public institutions serve their citizens, creating digital access to learning, or cultivating civic engagement, she is driven toward systems-level challenges with optimism and obsession for figuring out how design can be used to more equitably serve people. In her spare time, she enjoys making gifts that celebrate the people who make her life full.

Alison's Design Tips

"A balanced composition has three things—a large element (like a colored background), a medium element (like the focal point), and a small element (to add visual texture)."

If you want to take your creation to the next level, adding a little bit of texture in digital illustrations goes a long way.

Get Involved

Receive updates about the Nike Design with Grind Challenge and OpenIDEO Circular initiatives here.