When is a car company not a car company?Disruptive innovation is making its mark in yet another industry: this time in the car industry. Or to be more up to date, in the area of “mobility” – “the car industry” is now an outdated concept. New terms are constantly emerging in the attempt to capture the latest vision of the industry, including phrases such as “the emerging autonomous vehicle technology sector”, and “connected vehicle technology”. The concept of being just “a car company” is so outdated that a headline in The Verge this month revealed that McLaren, once known as a racing car producer, is now calling itself a tech company. The article went on to say that, “Adding the word "technology" at the heart of McLaren's corporate identity underscores the growing importance of the company's operations outside of racing. "Technology drives everything we do," says CEO Ron Dennis... Three-quarters of McLaren's 3,000 employees are now working on projects that aren't directly involved in motorsport.”
Redefining the industryAt this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this month the major automotive companies were out to demonstrate how they are redefining the industry. Many are emphasising the concept of the self-driving car in their drive to build safer and smarter modes of mobility. Ford focused on autonomous cars for the average person, and Daimler focused on premium autonomous cars – while Google (a new-comer in the field) focused on pod-like appliances. Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Dr. Dieter Zetsche, presented a futuristic Mercedes prototype. This unique car runs on auto-pilot, and passengers can use hand gestures to perform tasks en-route. “We should be defined by our future,” Zetsche said, “not by our past.” Why are the traditionally conservative automotive companies like Mercedes Benz becoming so proactive? A quick glance into the future suggests that while transport is important, cars as we know them are becoming less so. This will impact companies in the industry at all levels. The luxury market, for example, currently appeals to people who wish to pay for an emotional experience, but new research reveals that the younger generation have been shown to be more emotionally attached to their smart devices (eg phones) than to their cars. This is making the concept of a luxury brand less important for the consumers of the future.
Banking is necessary, banks are notBill Gates has made a simple comment that should redefine the way we think about the future. "While banking is necessary, banks are not". Each time we present this disruptive concept in our workshops, people’s initial responses are inevitably, “This doesn’t apply to our industry!” Yet as we’ve worked with a range of organizations, including with hotels, food companies, education, and IT - along with the "mobility" sector (car companies), people soon realise that the statement does in fact apply to them. Try it for yourself.
- Accommodation is necessary… hotels are not.
- Education is necessary… schools are not.
- Food is necessary… MNCs are not.
- Our industry is necessary… our company is … ???
|By Andrew Grant & Gaia Grant (BEd, Dip Tch & BA, Dip Ed, Dip BD (hons), Grad Dip Change Leadership, MSc Creativity & Innovation) - authors of “Who Killed Creativity?... And How Can We Get It Back?”, a book that reveals how to use creative thinking and innovation to stay ahead of the disruptive innovation wave.|
- Savov, V. (2015). “McClaren is now a tech company”. Retrieved from http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/13/7536501/mclaren-technology-group
- Lienart, P., & Klayman, B. (2015). “Race to define future car shifts into high gear”. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/07/us-autos-ces-analysis-idUSKBN0KG2BS20150107
- According to the Research firm IHS Automotive, in Lienart & Klayman.