Innovation. It can be a powerful catalyst for change.
In the auto industry, autonomous vehicles, connectivity, electrification and shared mobility are changing habits, expectations and the way consumers experience every drive. This transformation is both a challenge – and an opportunity – for suppliers like Lear. To capitalize, it’s important to have a systematic process in place that seeks discovery, nurtures ingenuity, evaluates potential and tests ideas. This process supports the kind of critical thinking needed to find answers to questions that others are unwilling to explore. This is the essence of innovation.
At Lear, we institutionalize innovation in the following ways to help deliver measurable business results:
1. Dedicated Talent — Having a committed team of world-class thinkers to answer innovation’s call is vital to success, and we have built a dedicated staff to focus on solutions for the next generation of automotive transportation. While Lear’s business groups are leveraging incremental development working towards a horizon that is two to four years out, our innovation team has their eyes five to 10 down years the road developing disruptive, game-changing technologies and products, often unlocking new value in the car and in our manufacturing plants. We also host an annual innovation challenge that invites university students to participate in a tournament-style technology competition. They ideate mobility solutions, are coached on developing a business case and can have the opportunity to implement their concept.
2. Venturing and Partnering — Lear Innovation Ventures (LIV) was launched one year ago to invest in early stage technologies and partnerships. LIV uses a series of strategic innovation principles designed for discovery and disciplined for delivery. The team is truly passionate about meeting the evolving demands of automakers and consumers. In the last 12months, we have expanded our entrepreneurial network by establishing relationships with several venture capital funds and start-up accelerators –Maniv Mobility, Tech stars, Plug and Play, and Auto Tech Ventures. Together, we are focused on finding technologies that will advance mobility and enhance thein-vehicle experience.
3. Fostering Dynamic Businesses — Most leading incumbent businesses suffer from what Clayton Christensen described in his book “The Innovators Dilemma” – they have difficulty embracing disruptive technologies when their current business is running well. However, to innovate it is critical to incubate new ideas that are subscale to the existing business or that run under different business models and risk/return profiles. Startup companies that are willing to challenge the status quo with innovations should be supported and encouraged. Last year, Lear announced its acquisition of Xevo, a leader in connected car software and data-driven user experiences. Our in-vehicle commerce and services platform, Xevo Market, leverages real-time interaction data, such as vehicle location and time of day, to deliver a highly personalized experience that makes the time spent in the car more productive and enjoyable.
By having this systematic process and following our philosophies, we increase the possibility that new innovations will find their way to market and not be lost in a studio or lab. We are building our innovation resources because we have a bold vision for the future – one that is connected, electrified and sustainable, and one thatis Making every drive better™ for our customers and consumers. See you on the road.