College of Design

Susan Sokolowski, PhD

Innovation Director, Apparel Innovation Team
Nike, Inc.

Design and Sport: Equipping Athletes for Gold

October 2013

Athletes are super human. These celebrities break social barriers - and some even break the rules. They spend hours every day training to win the race by a hundredth of a second, shoot the game-winning basket from full court, or make the tactical play that wins the Super Bowl. They're competitive, and winning is in their DNA. Creating performance products for athletes is a complex process that involves not only specialized research, but also the confidence to push the limits of design and manufacturing. Join Susan Sokolowski, Innovation Director for Nike, Inc., as she shares ideas for managing innovative projects and inventing new products within your organization.

Bio and Resources

Susan Sokolowski, PhD, is an Innovation Director for the Apparel Innovation Team at Nike, Inc. She has over 25 years of performance sporting goods experience, and works cross-functionally between footwear, apparel and equipment in creative and strategic roles. Her work is holistic in nature, where consideration of the athlete’s body form, psychology, sport, materials and design are addressed to develop game-changing innovation solutions. Susan has been recognized internationally for her achievements in design and innovation, including over 20 utility and design patents, awards from the United States Olympic Committee and Volvo, and featured product design at the Design Museum London. A motivational coach and mentor, Susan is committed to inspiring students in product design, development and merchandising. She currently teaches senior- and graduate-level classes in product design at the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. Susan is a graduate of the University of Minnesota (PhD, 1999), Cornell University (MA, 1997) and the Fashion Institute of Technology (BFA, 1990).