Advanced Engineering & OEM Sector

Embedding social innovation in B2B

OEMs face the challenge of innovating across legacy systems whilst working with diverse stakeholders to shape a sustainable Future.

OEMs face a triple whammy: pressure to innovate across legacy systems whilst inventing the new generation of tech and being the most trusted partner to co-shape The Future. And not just any future – a sustainable future. The Millennial mantra, ‘do-good’ comes to mind.

Like every industry today, OEMs in both automotive and ICT are navigating in a highly disruptive world. New competitors pepper the landscape – squeezing margins. And sure, agile development may have accelerated time to market or the dustbin; the R&D investment is nevertheless significant. Plus there’s pressure to set up ops closer to customers. More cost. Human energy and ideas scattered.

In this environment, holistic innovation that benefits society and shareholders demands harnessing the insights, ideas and collaboration of diverse stakeholders. Hence why we see a growing need for the fusion of face-to-face engagements and experiences with the online community world.

Consider transport and mobility. The seismic changes underway in those spaces require intense collaboration. Example:  BMW, Daimler and Audi jointly acquire Nokia’s geo-mapping business – a rebuff to Silicon Valley’s giants, and a wink to the future of driverless transport?  Certainly the promise of more in-car entertainment and driver-assist systems.  Throw in hybrid and electric. Mix in demand to make the existing mechanical beast more fuel-efficient and regulation compliant. Electric or hydrogen, or both?  Vector based energy supplied from an e-Lane on motorways? Very little happens today that doesn’t demand intense collaboration. In the case of the automotive and integrated transport systems collaboration spans from systems developers, energy providers, the brand owners, public bodies and interest groups to the end consumer.   

And all the while, OEMs need to attract top talent before it sneaks off to those same Silicon Valley giants. Creating events and online interactions that drive ‘collaboration’ may well be the sticky force that attracts and retains, said-top talent.

And if that’s not enough, business models are being turned upside down. In automotive, a new generation of consumer (The Millennial) is either unable to own a car, because saddled with debt and wage-drift, or simply prefers the concept of car-sharing. Say hello to pay-per-use. For this new generation owning things hasn’t the same cachet as money spent on experiences.

Apps and the social web ebb and flow through the entire path to purchase with ripple effects (consumer feedback) felt upstream in the innovation process. Trends, like these, all feed back into demands on OEM’s customers and ultimately the OEMs themselves and how they engage with customers and stakeholders.

So, switch gear. Sorry, maybe that should be swipe gear to a focus on corporate strategy and positioning that amplifies tech / AI capability, implies the business is an enabler of a new lifestyle, entertainment, productivity or a transformational force, rather than a collection of engineers, programmers and scientists. Should the coms and engagement strategy be B2B or B2S (business to society)? Is the business about providing systems and solutions, or is the real story how to communicate an agile partnership and clever ways of looking at the world.

OEMs in this disruptive environment can be a genuine catalyst for collaborative endeavours but it changes how OEMs interact and engage stakeholders.

Our live event and digital-interactive solutions help OEMs harness strategic opportunities like those above, and in the process creates the energy, capacity and motivation to confront Change. Those are just some of the needs we’re addressing with OEMs from Frankfurt to Shanghai.

Further reading