Nike-NASA partnership to include Nordic companies

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BEAVERTON, Ore. — Nike and NASA announced Friday they've expanded their innovation-themed partnership called Launch to include Nordic-based companies Ikea, Novozymes and Kvadrat, among others.

Called Launch Nordic, "it adds a new dimension to the established Launch process," a Nike news release says, "which draws upon the global collective intelligence to address some of the world's greatest challenges, by focusing on a specific region to harness the unique strengths of local innovators and companies."

Launch Nordic will also focus the challenge on innovative sustainable materials and how they are made.

Launch Nordic started Friday at a meeting in Copenhagen that includes 120 global and Nordic industry stakeholders, materials specialists, designers, researchers, innovators and policy makers. Participants included Hannah Jones, Nike vice president of sustainable business and innovation; Steve Howard, chief sustainability officer at Ikea; Diane Powell, head of partnerships at NASA; and Martin Lidegaard, Danish minister of foreign affairs.

The partnership announced Launch Nordic Challenge 2014, "seeking innovations that will transform the system of textiles, fabrics and fibers to one that has a minimal environmental impact and/or drives social equality."

The application deadline is June 1. In August, the strongest innovations will be selected and participants will take part in an immersive program that provides access to capital, creativity and capacity building.