The Theory of Innovation
In anticipation of the inaugural Thin Air Innovation Festival, we sat down with several of our panelists and speakers, all thought leaders in their field, to get their views on innovation. Here we catch-up with Emily Cook, 3X Olympian, 6X National Champion and World Cup champion. She now leads Skullcandy’s Human Potential Labs division, bringing together science, technology and the power of music to make a difference in the world and help people reach their full potential. Emily also works with Skullcandy’s elite and local athletes to help accelerate their individual goals and dreams. Emily currently sits on the board of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and the Park City Winter Sports School. She is an ambassador for Right to Play and Kids Play Int’l, which has taken her to Jordan, Tanzania and Rwanda to spread the lessons of sport to disadvantaged kids. In her free time, she helps manage programming for the non-profit, Classroom Champions and in the winter she spends as much time as possible on the hill skiing, and when the snow melts, she can be found on a bike, a trail, fly fishing with her dad or rock climbing in the Wasatch Mountains.
How do you define Innovation?
Innovation is doing something new and different, breaking from the mold and forging your own path. In our context this is an incredibly impactful word because it can separate us each from being good to being amazing. How are you inspired by Innovation? As an athlete, every tiny detail can be the difference between first place and 30th place in a big event, doing a new trick or taking a huge leap forward in our goals. I’m so inspired by doing something new and helping others reach beyond their goals and dreams in the process to a place they never dreamed was possible.
How do you inspire Innovation in others?
Inspiring innovation in others takes courage. It’s challenging and scary to do something new, and often is viewed with skepticism. However, when it works it can make all the difference in the world and once that happens others may start taking chances as well. Imagine what new and exciting conversations and leaps forward would exist if we all took that risk.
What’s the most innovative project you’ve been involved in?
I love the project we are working on here at Skullcandy, looking at how music impacts performance, because it is a world that not many people have explored in the past. To me that makes it the most innovative thing I have personally been a part of, and it’s a wild and exciting adventure. I love learning about each individual, their backgrounds and dreams and creating ways to help them reach and exceed their goals. It’s a pretty special way to go through life, and one I am really thankful to be a part of. As an athlete training for the Olympics, I had so much support and am thankful for the innovation of USSA. I love being a part of Skullcandy’s team and supporting that structure for other athletes.
What is the future of Innovation?
The projects people are working on in this world and right here in Park City are endless and mind blowing. I can’t imagine what this community will look like in 25 years, but I am really excited to be a part of it.
Join Emily, and other leaders in innovation at the Thin Air Innovation Festival in Park City, Utah, April 6-8. For tickets and more information, please visit thinairparkcity.com.