We supported the innovation team of Pentland Brands to identify 12 innovation challenges; design and deliver a bespoke venture ideation sprint for those challenges; and provide dedicated venture coaching.


Pentland Group is a global brand management company with a family of brands in the sports, fitness and fashion markets. They are the owners of Speedo, Berghaus, Mitre, Ellesse, Canterbury of New Zealand and Kickers amongst many other brands.

Like any iconic business, Pentland aspires to be a work in progress that is constantly evolving with the times. Their ambitions are to innovate by launching new brands and ventures within the thriving sports, wellness, health and fitness domains. With a conscious understanding that consumer values and expectations as well as technological advancements in these areas are evolving at a rapid pace, Pentland knew that entrepreneurialism – and intrapreneurship -is one of the key ingredients to continuing to grow as a business.


Pentland asked us to help them identify 12 opportunity areas for innovation, aligned to their strategic ambitions; to design and deliver a one-day innovation sprint followed by a two month venture development process to help them validate early propositions. The goal was to help them ideate propositions and find the most cost-effective and inclusive way for the business to execute those ideas in a systematic and entrepreneurial way.


We took a collaborative approach that allowed us to execute a tailored ‘Disruption Day‘ off the back of several weeks of strategic workshopping with the innovation leadership to map out where they believe the future of sport, health and fitness lies, and the top 12 problems they wanted to solve for consumers.

After being invited by the COO, 60+ talented individuals from across the organisation came together, forming 12 teams, to ideate propositions through Studio Zao’s systematic lean venture building process. The approach was open and featured 6 external entrepreneurs who joined to provide their domain expertise. Entrepreneurs were sourced by Studio Zao to be aligned with the 12 opportunity areas, by tapping into its international network of entrepreneurs and startups.


By the end of the day, each team generated, prioritised, explored, devised a test plan, and pitched venture ideas that will be developed through customer discovery and validation over the subsequent two months. The 12 venture propositions will be supported by Studio Zao in the coming weeks through venture coaching, and will culminate in a pitch to the leadership team.

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Good Mental Health and Self-care in Lean Startups

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HATCH — Start a Business in 3 Days

An immersive weekend sprint from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon to make your business idea a reality. Expert venture builders will take you through a systematic venture development process. Join the next available weekend.
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Your Innovation Gateway to the NHS is Open!

Develop ground-breaking AI solutions to improve mental health and healthy ageing for the NHS during a one-week free-to-enter venture sprint in Cambridge, 2nd - 6th Sept 2019
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Join Pentland Brands to Shape the Future of Sports, Outdoor Apparel and Fashion

A unique opportunity for Entrepreneurs and Startup Founders with a track record and interest in Smart Cities, Retail, Fashion, Apparel and Sports to connect with Pentland, one of the key global players in UK.
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Market Validation For Startups and Go-To-Market Strategy

A bespoke, multi-week programme for seed or venture funded startups seeking proof of market validation and a data-backed go-to-market strategy.