By Eicorn’s Dimitri Papaioannou
We live in exciting times! We live in an era where the pace of innovation accelerates, introducing disrupting technologies and business models along the way, redefining whole industries. The current business environment encompasses opportunities for those that are prepared and, threats for those that are not. Mastering innovation is a must for companies that want to remain leaders in the marketplace.
Technology innovations in the past five years have been numerous, and many more are on their way in the years to come. Take autonomous vehicles (AVs) for example; features are currently introduced in automobiles and complete autonomy solutions are expected in the years ahead. But let’s not forget that technology innovations are not the only kind of innovation we have. We also have technology-enabled innovations, or business innovations that redefine the business status quo, introducing new business models in the marketplace – even though often enabled by technology. In the autonomous driving example that is very much the case. The vehicle ownership scheme will likely be evolving, especially in countries with solid public transportation means. Industry experts predict that we will be moving into an ownership model of shared autonomy. This transition is expected to occur in two ways: (a) through owned autonomy, that is ownership of the AV and (b) through shared economy that is shared use of the AV. Both routes are viable simultaneously. In either case we are ending up with a shared model, which is a substantial shift from the current model of complete automobile ownership.
In the case of AVs, automobile manufactures hold the keys of the pace of transition to shared autonomy. It is to their advantage to have a steady, step by step transition stretching over the next 10 to 15 years; this approach will augment new car sales for them and secure quality in processes and products. But attackers of the industry are aiming to attain a larger portion of the pie and may break the pack, introducing AV features earlier than originally planned, putting premium incumbents and fast followers on the defensive. This is likely to occur, resulting to an accelerated pace of innovation in the automotive industry towards shared autonomy.
Examining the case of the automotive industry, one can ask; how can vehicle manufactures maintain a leadership position? The answer is simple: Lead the development towards a shared autonomy. Take the lead in introducing AV features and develop beforehand the technologies that will be deployed in the coming years; and also drive the exploration of business model disruptions spawning of technology-enabled innovation.