How can we bring our ideas to life at the example of shared mobility?Evolving the idea of shared mobility with AI.
Next MQ! Innovation Summit|November 8-9, 2018
John Baldus works in Audi IT Pre-Development and Innovation Management, where he supervises innovative projects. He presented one of these projects – a model for e-bike sharing – for discussion in his MQ! workspace.
you have been a passionate driver of Audi cars for years, as you have said yourself. Where did your interest in e-bikes come from?
Because of urbanization, shared mobility is a megatrend around the world today – whether on four wheels or two. Audi is also developing a wide variety of concepts for transport along the last mile. We presented a very special approach at the MQ! Our department – IT Innovation Management – is located in a large industrial park a few kilometers from the gates of the Ingolstadt plant. It is connected via bus but there is not yet a bicycle sharing program there to supplement that.
And you presented this idea for discussion in your workspace?
In the workspaces we demonstrated the methodology we had used. In our work in IT Pre-Development, we generally want to put the focus more sharply on customers and their wishes. To do this, we have established an innovation process with multiple steps: Analysis of the problem from the perspective of the customer, ideation and concept development of possible solutions, construction of the first prototype as a minimum viable product, as MVP, and evaluation of this prototype together with the customer.
What kinds of prototypes are these?
That depends completely on the project. It can be an app as a simple click-dummy, a machine learning algorithm, or – as here with the e-bike – a physical hardware model. That is a technology box from the 3D printer that is attached to the bike. With it and the app we have developed, we can locate, reserve and book the e-bike, lock and unlock it, as well as read the charge status of the battery.
What tasks did you give to the participants in the workspace?
John Baldus: We formed six small groups. Two of them were supposed to solve one of three assignments that came from our innovation process. Question number one was where the biggest holdup is today when it comes to shared mobility. The answer was clear: the many island solutions that cannot be networked, so that there is no possibility of end-to-end navigation and no flat-rate ticket is possible. We had a guest from outside for this topic – Sune Pedersen, the co-founder of Faraday Motion in Berlin. His start-up is currently building a platform in Berlin for e-mobility business solutions.
What were the other two topics?
The second task was an ideation challenge, a brainstorming process that my colleague Philip Popien headed up. Here the question was how we can make shared mobility better through the increased use of artificial intelligence. And the third task was to develop a business model on the basis of our prototype. At the end, all of the groups presented their results in short pitches. One of them presented themselves as a start-up – and was in fact so convincing that I would have immediately bought their business model.
What benefits did you take away from the workspace?
We established a lot of contacts for our project and for the charging infrastructure – that is a very important issue for the launch phase. The group was predominantly very international. Most participants were young professionals, from entrepreneurs to Siemens managers. Networking is a fixed component of the daily routine in our department, of course. We organize hackathons and workshops with participants from our own company and from the entire Volkswagen Group. We are also frequently on the move and often participate in tech conferences.
How would you as convention experts classify the MQ!?
I was most excited about the extremely high density of good, inspiring speakers I was able to experience live, such as Steve Wozniak, Jimmy Wales, Fatima Bhutto and David Rowan. The workspaces were the perfect compliment. The entire package was simply superb.
IT Innovation Manager, AUDI AG
John Baldus works as an innovation manager at the IT Innovation Department at Audi. He conveyed his enthusiasm for discovering trends and technologies early, understanding them deeply and proving their viability through proof of concepts and rapid prototypes.