Charles Johnson

For nearly three decades Charles has worked at the intersection of human performance, design, technology and manufacturing creating both analog and digital products for the sports, fashion, active lifestyle and gaming sectors.

Armed with a design degree from the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon and the IDSA Merit Award for his graduating class, Charles’ professional starting point as a product designer has transformed to executive level leadership shaping vision, teams and strategies for global brands.

He was the first industrial designer at Adidas’ global headquarters in Germany working in the Advanced Product Group where he focused on converting biomechanics research into performance technologies for athletes producing some of the products that helped reestablish Adidas as an industry leader. He went on to found New York City based, Sports Creative Group, Inc., a design consultancy and brand incubator focused on the sports industry. Notable accomplishments included the creation of the Black Fives™ apparel brand, and designs for Ralph Lauren RLX and Prince Tennis footwear collections. Pursuant to SCG he migrated back to the corporate sector holding Design and Strategy leadership positions at Adidas North America in Portland, Oregon and the Global Creative Director position at Crocs in Boulder, CO.

Before arriving at the ETC, Charles worked at Puma SE global headquarters in Germany for 10 years first as Head of Footwear Design and then Head of Innovation Design. He was appointed Global Director of Innovation in 2015, where he led a team of researchers, designers, material engineers and a host of industry specialists to create new performance enhancing technologies and experiences for athletes and consumers. Through his innovation work he has established partnerships with Hewlett-Packard, Siemens, BMW, BMW Design Works, Porsche Design, Ferrari, MIT Design Lab, Loughborough University, Technische Universitat Chemnitz, University of Stuttgart, Fraunhofer, Cake Electric Motorcycles, leAD International Sports Accelerator Ltd., Stadia Ventures, Arsenal Football Club, Manchester City Football Club, Playseat, ESL Gaming, SK Gaming, Cloud 9 and Ninjas In Pyjamas.

Charles is a sustaining jurist for IDEA (International Design Excellence Award), iF (International Forum) and Core77 international design awards.

His consulting business, DrivenByCharles, serves a range of industries in the sports, healthcare, sustainability, personal mobility and social impact sectors.

Professor Johnson is invested in deploying his professional experience to further the cause of Humanistic Design, using the power of design to do good, and to fuel the entertainment tech industries with elite talent.