Scott Emmons, Founder and Director of the Neiman Marcus iLab, is leaving the retailer to take the position as CTO at TheCurrent Global, a consultancy focused on transforming how retail and fashion brands intersect with technology. Emmons announced his changing role during a session at the NRF Big Show.
Emmons will oversee an ecosystem of global startups and tech partners, managing their integration with brand and retail clients. He will work alongside TheCurrent Global founders Liz Bacelar, CEO, and Rachel Arthur, Chief Innovation Officer.
Founded in 2017, TheCurrent Global has worked with clients including Gucci, Burberry, Tiffany & Co, Mulberry, Shiseido, Swarovski, LVMH and the British Fashion Council.
One of the reasons for his career change is that Emmons believes that the culture of legacy organizations can hold back the progress of their internal innovation labs. Additionally, corporate culture and processes are counterproductive to recruiting, onboarding and maintaining relationships with startups or innovative solution providers.
“Corporate innovation programs seem to start strong and sharp, but over time, they are devoured and diminished by surrounding day-to-day business processes, making it nearly impossible to maintain momentum,” Emmons said in a statement. “It’s one thing to talk to agility and risk, but when you’re not built for either, measured by cost reductions and operating within a silo, results tend only to be incremental. It’s time for that to change. For fashion and retail brands to succeed, they need to shift from an internally driven culture to one focused on open innovation with the world’s top technology and talent.”
Under Emmons’ leadership, Neiman Marcus had a strong track record of developing retail innovation initiatives, including a Memory Mirror, 4K touch-table lookbooks, store associate IoT communicators, intelligent mobile phone charging stations and new fitting room technology.