The story appears on

Page A8

October 28, 2018

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Business

Disrupt internally, collaborate externally for better innovation

WE are living in a rapidly developing world that may bring greater change to the automotive industry in the next five to 10 years than in the past 50. This requires a different approach to innovation.

As we drive toward the new mobility era of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion envisioned by General Motors, the entire industry is facing mounting challenges that demand more holistic, inclusive and collaborative solutions.

GM believes it is critical to encourage, develop and accelerate innovation by leveraging resources inside and outside our company through partnerships at the global level. Our innovation footprint has long extended beyond our home in the US city of Detroit and California’s Silicon Valley, to Waterloo in Canada, Herzliya in Israel and Shanghai - a technology innovation hub with growing global influence.

Innovation is the key driving force for both Shanghai and GM to enable continued growth. From crowdsourcing and structured research and development networks to partnerships and acquisitions, innovation has the power to disrupt and destroy silos. Innovation can, and in fact must, come from everywhere.

GM has established an open innovation system that seeks acquisitions and government support. It involves supplier partners, universities, joint venture partnerships and alliances.

GM Ventures LLC, the venture capital arm of GM that was established in 2010, has helped to deliver groundbreaking, first-to-market technology to customers.

It invests in growth-stage companies specializing in game-changing areas, such as clean technology, infotainment and advanced materials.

Open innovation starts with an open innovation mindset. GM created a company-wide crowdsourcing platform called iHub in Detroit to encourage employees to think beyond their current role and apply skills to other areas of the business. This mechanism operates on the premise that every GM employee can innovate.

They can put their ideas to the test in Studio Y, iHub’s incubator at the GM Technical Center near Detroit. Not all ideas survive. But much like a startup, failing quickly and either refining or moving on to the next idea is a valuable learning opportunity.

The crowdsourcing platform that translates ideas for GM’s future products and services can also help Shanghai promote entrepreneurship and establish a profound innovation ecosystem. Such a supportive environment will in return facilitate companies’ expansion of their local innovation practices.

The outstanding immersive entrepreneurship and innovation culture of California makes it an ideal locale for startups to benefit from a complete innovation value chain.

In the race to bring safe, self-driving vehicles to market ahead of its competitors, GM is a partner of Silicon Valley-based innovation incubator 500 Startups. And GM has acquired two California-based startup companies — Cruise Automation and Strobe.

Leveraging the two companies’ hardware and software capabilities, GM rolled out the world’s first production-ready autonomous vehicle with no steering wheel, pedals or manual controls earlier this year. GM’s autonomous driving unit, GM Cruise, is now moving toward safe deployment at scale to discover its own commercial value, fueled by the latest investment from GM as well as global investor the SoftBank Vision Fund.

Similar to Silicon Valley, Israel has a unique entrepreneurship and innovation culture. Its strong competitive edge in future mobility development, including sensor and control systems, attracted GM to become the first automaker to tap Israel’s R&D potential, back in 2008.

Over the past decade, GM’s R&D center in Herzliya has formed partnerships with dozens of Israeli startups and entrepreneurs. Some of these have resulted in new business models and technology implemented on GM vehicles on the road today and in future vehicles.

Innovation friendly

This hotbed of innovation has been bolstered by the state-backed Ecomotion entrepreneur community since 2012. It conducts workshops and events that bring together entrepreneurs, market leaders, foreign and local companies, technology professionals, policymakers, scholars and investors.

Government support can play a key role in building up an innovation-friendly environment. Canada’s vehicle safety regulations have been harmonized with those of the United States, enabling companies such as GM to share work and resources across the border.

Earlier this year, GM opened the new Canadian Technical Center (CTC) in Markham, Ontario. Our assets in the province are also collaboratively with Cruise Automation in Silicon Valley and GM organizations elsewhere.

GM has also been actively investing in the Oshawa/Waterloo innovation cluster in Ontario to incubate urban mobility and connected vehicle innovations.

This is becoming a new global automotive innovation hub.

It serves as a great example of healthy collaboration between business and government, which backs procurement to foster innovation and offers industrial regional benefits programs.

In Shanghai, which is at the heart of the world’s largest vehicle market, GM has enjoyed an increasingly encouraging atmosphere of open innovation following the broadening of market access.

GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) joint venture with SAIC in Shanghai has been China’s benchmark for automotive engineering and design since its establishment 21 years ago.

The Shanghai-based GM China Science Lab and GM China Advanced Technical Center have been playing leading roles in GM’s global R&D efforts in electrification and intelligent connected vehicles, with strong support from local government agencies, academic partners such as Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and the National Intelligent and Connected Vehicle Pilot Zone.

The Shanghai government can enhance the environment for open innovation through the adoption of more initiatives and greater policy support.

It can make the municipality a global technology innovation hub by: fostering an incubation environment enabled by access to capital and an entrepreneurial community; taking a technology-neutral stance, and letting the market play a dominant role at the early and developing stages of innovation; and acknowledging that although some regulation and oversight are necessary, particularly in safety-related matters, “less is more” is best to provide maximum room for innovation.

Since IBLAC was established 30 years ago, Shanghai has been focused on going from “global to local” — taking the best innovations and ideas that the world has to offer and tailoring them for Shanghai.

In the next 30 years, Shanghai is poised to go from “local to global” — taking the best innovations and ideas that Shanghai has to offer, sharing them with the world, and becoming one of the great innovation success stories.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend