If ingenuity is a requisite for success in a sea of sameness, footwear brands and retailers must deliver unique, compelling products at high speed to remain competitive.
That was one of the emerging themes at the summer edition of Outdoor Retailer in Denver in late July. Footwear brands noted a demand for increased consumer expectations for distinctive, utilitarian products and swift delivery. As such, technology is assuming a larger role in the footwear supply chain, and collaborative workspace solutions, such as Silicon Valley-based Bluescape, have come into sharper focus.
Bluescape’s offering fosters faster product development and origination of design through its real-time touch-screen software. Enabled to hasten the design process, its cloud-based visual collaboration platform unites users from any location to create and fine-tune product ideas in one space.
Here, Peter Jackson, the CEO at Bluescape, shares insights about the impact of collaborative design software on footwear brands’ supply chains and how it advances speed to market.
How is Bluescape differentiated in the market?
“Bluescape, a collaborative workspace solution, enables footwear brands and retailers to create and collaborate in a digital workspace. Teams can meet and work visually and intuitively while using their favorite tools, applications and devices. With Bluescape, users can easily bring content from a wide variety of tools into a persistent digital workspace that everyone can see, share and contribute to. Teams can work faster, be more creative, make decisions faster and save time in meetings by having all of their content, notes and images in one shared space.”
How does Bluescape’s collaborative real-time design capabilities enable the streamlined production and manufacturing of footwear?
“Bluescape enables footwear brands to work better and faster across the entire design process, production and distribution cycle. Designers, product managers and textile suppliers can collaborate in real time to drive process forward. The ability to add notes, draw and post documents gives teams a ‘live’ interactive workspace. Supply chain teams can use Bluescape to track production cycles, delivery dates and handle issues that may come up. Marketing and advertising teams can work together on launch plans, sales projects and marketing content. Global and remote employees can better meet and work with their teams anytime and from any device.”
Why do Bluescape’s offerings impact the outdoor industry at large, specifically the footwear category?
“Bluescape enables footwear brands to progress in how they take shoes to market. The traditional barriers of long product lifecycles or breakdowns in planning and communication are no longer of concern. Bluescape helps solve production time delays (time to market), internal and external communications and bringing desperate content and resources together in one shared workspace. It creates workspaces organized by projects and provides a visually interactive collaboration structure that is accessible by everyone from everywhere.
“Working together with other design and productivity tools, Bluescape works with leading video conferencing tools as well as with applications like Slack to integrate digital collaboration with content, renderings, designs, vignettes, spreadsheets and videos at the same time. The digital workspace is available anytime from any place and stores all meeting data and notes so there is a record of a project from beginning to end.”
What trends did you note at Outdoor Retailer in the footwear category? How can Bluescape’s technology help realize those trends?
“I love how the shoe trends today are designed with comfort on style. Everyone is moving towards creating a product that might be a boot, high heel or walking shoe with new types of soles. The Allbirds-type movement is catching on like yogawear did when Lululemon hit their stride. This is forcing designers to get out of their comfort zone on materials and design. We’re finding that with our Outdoor Retailer customers, we’re helping speed up new designs and enabling designers to compare competitive products side by side in a touch screen. We’re making it easier to be unique and hit the market faster.”
What’s next for Bluescape?
“Bluescape is working closely with our customers, footwear and outdoor retailer brands to integrate our collaborative workspace with their preferred tools and technologies. We’re providing our solution to companies so their developers can build plugins, integrators and connectors to their design tools, productivity applications and communication platforms. We’re making it easy to use Bluescape to automate processes and create capabilities across workflows.
“Bluescape recently introduced BluescapeNow in the Intel Unite solution to enhance meetings and team collaboration. It’s a free, easy-to-use digital whiteboard where teams can present and collaborate in a project canvas during an Intel Unite meeting. For the first time, people can write, draw, add images or web-related content and later go back to their work, replicate the content and update to drive projects forward. The canvas is always available and accessible from any device. As a browser-based tool, it’s easy to use and works well for users and small teams working on specific projects.”