Journey for Innovation and Sustainability. Lessons learned from Patagonia and Gap Inc.


Join us for a talk about lessons learnt from Patagonia and GAP Inc and a Q&A with a visiting entrepreneur Tetsuya O’Hara!

Tetsuya O’Hara is the Vice President of Innovation and Global Innovation & Performance CoE (Aro) for Gap Inc. In this role, Tetsuya and his team identify and define the game changing innovation strategy, and seamlessly feed commercially viable product to all five of Gap Inc.’s brand portfolio: Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, and Hill City.

Tetsuya began his career at Teijin in Osaka, Japan, where he led sailcloth R&D from 1985 until 1995, and developed high-tech sailcloth for America’s Cup boats. In 1996, he moved his family to Connecticut to work for Dimension Polyant, where he designed light weight composite materials for NASA’s 400-meter environmental research balloon, and incorporated sailcloth technology for a drumhead widely used in the music industry. From 2003 until 2016, he worked for Patagonia in Ventura, California, and served as the Director of Material Development, Director of Advanced R&D, and Director of Innovation Research, in that order. There he executed a series of radical eco-innovation for the company’s product lines. One of his signature projects was making a wetsuit out of Guayule, a native plant from Arizona that requires no petroleum. He also discovered a plasma technology on down and spearheaded on Patagonia’s limited-edition Encapsil Down Belay Parka, which set new standards in lightness and warmth. Tetsuya also charged R&D of Merino Air that was chosen gold winner in base layer category at ISPO Award 2015.

The United States Patent Office approved his scientific inventions and granted him seven patents.
He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan and a MBA from Pepperdine University. He also completed the Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Tetsuya is a member of the advisory board at University of St Andrews School of Management and MIT Sports Technology and Education.

Tetsuya will meet us to share his journey for innovation and sustainability and a way to create a responsible business based on his experiences at Patagonia and Gap Inc.

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Southern Cross University
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