The Truth Behind “Secret” Innovation At Nike, Apple, Google X

On the outskirts of Nike‘s yawning campus in Beaverton, Oregon, a nondescript garage sits behind a line of tall trees, hiding between a day-care center and a security firm. A door to the garage, marked only with the letter “A,” is always locked; the windows to the facility are tinted like a rapper’s SUV. Inside, two toned athletes are lunging in front of a pair of Xboxes. A gaggle of laptops tracks their progress, spitting out Matrix-like data onto the screens. The floor plates beneath their feet are pressure-sensitive. There are high-speed cameras and infrared lights watching overhead, staring down at various weight machines, climbing ropes, and other gym props.

This is the Sparq performance center, one of the most secretive labs at Nike’s headquarters. It’s the 21st century equivalent of the advanced facility Russian boxer Ivan Drago trained at inRocky IV, and it was key in developing the analytics behind such digital products as Nike+. Few Nike employees know of its existence, I’m told; even fewer have access. As Sparq performance director Paul Winsper insists (implausibly, given my notebook and recorder), “We don’t want anybody to know about this.”… Read More (Source: