Auto Brands Benefiting From Open Innovation
Over the past few years, the “thinking out of the box” phenomenon has become the order of the day,
as more and more brands are resorting to idea management techniques and open innovation.
According to a Forrester research, various industry verticals including the automobile sector has been
able to attain efficient product development ideas through open innovation contests. Furthermore,
it has also enabled auto brands to have an in-depth understanding of consumer psyche and develop a
deeper audience connect.
Automobile major, Audi, Germany has been implementing idea management and open innovation
techniques focusing on the future of next generation automotive production. The brand launched its
Audi Production Awards inviting engineers, students, scientists and others interested to contribute
in developing visionary ideas for the automobile industry. Furthermore, Audi also came up with an
open innovation competition under the name “People in Production” in 2012, where participants
could contribute their ideas about how people should work in production and the kind of concepts
that should be focused upon. There were more than 70 ideas that got submitted and judged by a
panel of judges including expert professionals from Audi’s innovation and pre-development teams.
In the end, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence was declared as the winner with
prize money of €5,000 for focusing on mobility and introducing the concept of a digital factory with
networking, assistance systems and training.
Managing innovation ideas and implementing them has become easier for auto brands with the
advent of the social web. Social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter act as a
participating platform for generating new product ideas or enhancing an existing product. This
exactly what French automobile manufacturer Citroen, France did through Facebook.
Citroen partnered with Facebook and introduced an app under the name “You like it, we make it” in
April 2012 and encouraged over 81,000 members on Facebook to participate and share their feedback
on a special edition of one of its popular cars, the C1 Connexion. Participants were asked to assess
the model’s look, style, design details and equipment’s. This online interactive forum was open for
public idea submission for a month with more than 24,000 ideas. Incorporating all the ideas for
design, vehicle performance and other details Audi came with its special crowdsourced model of C1
Connexion, which is a 3-door car in Caldera Black body color and Scarlet Red highlights on the door
handles and wing mirror.
Open innovation and crowdsourcing techniques would work for any enterprise that believes that
some of the revolutionary ideas might come from the audience at large. This not only helps in having
access to a wide pool of creative insights but also fosters a culture of knowledge sharing.
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