Gap Inc.: Moving Ideas from ‘Fuzzy’ to ‘Fruition’

Michael Perman has quite the provocative title at Gap Inc., the San Francisco-based retailer: Dean of Global Innovation.

MichaelPermanGap operates more than 3,100 stores around the world, and employs 136,000 people. It owns brands like Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Piperlime. And Perman acknowledges that in an organization that is so large and successful, the biggest challenge isn’t coming up with a great idea, it’s moving it through the pipeline until it actually shows up in a store, gets adopted at headquarters, or appears in a marketing campaign.

Perman explained how Gap is addressing that challenge last week at the Chief Innovation Officer Summit in New York, in a talk titled “Alternative Realities of Innovation.” And he offered up his own really thoughtful definition for innovation:

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