Tom Waller podcast

038: Tom Waller on the science of feel to optimise performance

In this week’s episode I am joined by Dr. Tom Waller (Senior Vice President Whitespace, Innovation and R&D at lululemon athletica). After completing his PhD at Loughborough University in sports technologies, where I first met Tom, he went on to work at Progressive Sports Technologies and onto Speedo as Head of Aqualab at a time where skinsuits were at their peak at having an impact on world record swimming times. Now at lululemon athletica, Tom heads up a team of innovators and experts inventing their products. Tom shares his philosophies on innovation, how critical it is to engage with user needs, the importance of lateral thinking and what the future might bring with the science of feel.
Show Notes

4:20 – Steve and Tom begin by discussing the origins of lululemon’s name before delving into Tom’s background and his journey with Progressive Sports Technologies, Speedo and lululemon.

17:08 – Steve enquiries about Tom’s experiences of being mentored by Professor Mike Caine throughout his PhD at Loughborough University.

19:40 – Tom discusses the importance of being purpose driven, lateral thinking and connecting diverse dots in generating new innovation and perspective in a radically changing world.

27:40 – Steve asks how Tom brings technological innovation in lululemon’s products to the mass market. In particular he expands on the differences between meaning and association with a product.

34:22 – Tom expands on lululemon’s concept ‘the science of feel’, how we require different ‘feels’ in different contexts to perform optimally and gives us an example with the sports bra.

55:25 – The importance of feel as a sensory feedback source for athletes to optimise performance. The science of feel was an idea conceptualised by LuLuLemon to help manage the dialogue between body and mind.

59:45 – Tom offers more insight into the culture at lululemon – they’re a team of entrepreneurs who have a strong collective and individual alignment on purpose, vision and goals.

1:08:40 – Steve asks Tom, what is next?

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