The hip, insightful business magazine Fast Company featured Jake Burton in its April issue in a section titled Unit of One written by Jill Rosenfeld.
In the story the magazine took the term, “Here’s an Idea,” and followed it by finding out how people from differing organizations come up with good ideas and are able to continually push innovation.
Jake is in good company. Other innovators featured in the article include Fredrick Smith, CEO of FedEx; Vinton Cerf, senior VP for Internet architecture for MCI Worldcom; and the modern dance master Twyla Tharp.
In the one page piece Burton talks about how he saw the Snurfer and realized that the company that was manufacturing it didn’t have the slightest idea what they had. “I had no idea that snowboarding would become as popular as it has¿but I did realize that people would want the product and I committed energy to making and marketing it.”
As to how innovations happen at Burton Snowboards, Jake said they ask simple market-oriented questions. “We ask, ‘what do people want? What’s missing’, If the original product is a hassle for people, they’ll fork over money for something that’s better.”
Simplicity is key, Jake says. “Innovation doesn’t have to complex. Everyone has the ability to make innovation happen.”