2016

MLOVErs explore the future of mobility

A sneak peek into what happened when we hit the road for the exclusive MLOVE Forum of Mobility.
What do you get when you bring together a melting pot of personalities and professions, ranging from leading automotive decision-makers, business romantics, singularity lecturers, flamboyant fashion entrepreneurs, artists and tech startups? That would be the MLOVE Forum of Mobility. And let us tell you, it’s an event that gives you an incredible dose of inspiration that only the open-minded will be able to swallow. Here’s a little taste of it. 

We have a longstanding relationship with the lovely team at MLOVE. Harald Neidhardt and his team are experts in bringing together the right people from their global community for events that spur conversation and ideas around the future of mobility, IoT and smart cities. You know that at each event you’re going to be reunited with a great group of friendly faces, and are always left pleasantly surprised by the new ones you meet.

To ensure we didn’t miss any opportunities, the IXDS crew was 6 people strong: along for the ride to Grand Hotel Heiligendamm (the picturesque event venue) was our CEO Nancy Birkhölzer, brand new seamless mobility Director Ingo Kucz, seamless mobility Design Lead Christiane Holzheidconnected living Director Sven-Anwar Bibi, Designer Andrej Balaz and Berlin Studio Manager Verena Augustin.

Expert workshops

Under the overall theme ‘Exponential Experiences & Accelerated Brands’, the agenda included a mix of workshops, presentations and networking events. Our IXDS experts hosted a workshop on seamless mobility, using a format that provided a unique opportunity to nut out industry challenges one-on-one with major mobility players.

Together with the MLOVE expert community and the likes of Dieter May, Senior VP Digital Business Models at BMW; Johann Jungwirth, Volkswagen Group’s Chief Digital Officer; Alexander Mankowsky, who’s in charge of Future Studies & Ideation at Daimler; and Oliver Risse, the CEO & Founder of Floatility, we discussed new strategies around cross industry collaborations and partnerships, and mapped out a future vision and manifesto.

Sven, who was among the IXDS experts running the event, said “It’s a rare opportunity to have all these experts in one room. We were able to center the workshop on stakeholder needs, ecosystem thinking, the convergence of markets and designing new ones to solve customer needs."

Aside from our own involvement, we took the chance to soak up new insights from the many diverse presentations. Here are a few little highlights from some of the stand-out talks. 

Jérôme Nadel, Chief Marketing Office, Rambus

Jérôme’s talk focused on accelerating branding with design-led marketing; the main message being the need to blend strategy and design to market the brand through the service.

In this context, the CMO needs to take a more holistic approach to marketing, one that goes beyond content, traffic and analytics. He said semiconductor marketing teams should "think like designers upstream at the beginning of the creative process, rather than simply focusing on more traditional marketing methods downstream when a product is taped out or finalized. If you are promoting what you helped create, you naturally have a better understanding of the product itself.”

He gave the example of Rambus’ lensless smart sensor (LSS) technology and the collaboration the organization formed with us (IXDS) to explore potential use cases for the next-generation low-power sensing.

“We asked them to prototype a number of minimum viable products around LSS in specific, clearly defined verticals. They helped us open up to a new and different way of thinking, allowing us to achieve a viable strategy critical for a very competitive IoT marketplace,” he said.

Our takeaway: Something that our Berlin studio Director Verena has given talks on herself in the past, she said: "In a service dominant market, we should be using marketing budgets for designing better products and services so consumers can experience the organizational purpose through the actual services delivered by that brand." 

They helped us open up to a new and different way of thinking, allowing us to achieve a viable strategy critical for a very competitive IoT marketplace.

Jérôme Nadel, Chief Marketing Office, Rambus
Mobility panel with BMW, Volkswagen & Daimler

How are the major car manufacturers adapting to the shift towards user-centered seamless mobility? In this session we heard from Johann Jungwirth, Volkswagen Group’s Chief Digital Officer; Dieter May, Senior VP Digital Business Models at BMW; and Alexander Mankowsky, Future Studies & Ideation at Daimler about how their companies are moving away from just the hardware and getting innovative in their approach to fulfilling their customers’ needs – both on and off the road.  

Speaking individually before a panel discussion, Dieter discussed BMW’s aims to go digital, and build service ecosystems focussing on the customer. The core of his talk was about the BMW Open Mobility Cloud and its capabilities to deliver a holistic set of mobility services in the future. The new CONNECTED App (launched in March) is the first step towards a holistic “mobility companion”. Current features include access to your calendar so the app not only tells you where to go but when to go. It also learns from your driving routines and takes the context (e.g. traffic data) into account to provide more accurate travel times. 

Johann filled us in on Volkswagen's grand vision that's based on urbanization, digitalization and sustainability. Looking at the larger mobility picture he outlined their plans to solve congestion, improve quality of life and free up more space in cities. The plan is very much centered around automated vehicles that act like public transport – think self-driving taxis. He showed how personal car use would drastically reduce traffic, presenting an image depicting how parking spaces in the city could be upcycled for more important uses.   

Our takeaway: It was great to see how these companies recognize the need to change and are working on building the organizational tools and processes to keep up when venturing into new digital terrain. However, our seamless mobility Director Ingo said: “What was missing was a consideration for integrating existing public transport infrastructure. If you really want to put the customer in the middle, you need to look at all possible journeys – the wider mobility experience.”  

Our CEO Nancy’s insights: “Think #seamless mobility holistically from a human perspective. User-centered services and ecosystems that go beyond organizational borders are needed for the German automotive industry to survive! And purposeful organizations that embrace #new work to deliver those!”

If you really want to put the customer in the middle, you need to look at all possible journeys – the wider mobility experience.

Ingo Kucz
Tim Leberecht, Author, The Business Romantic Society

Tim spoke on the five characteristics of “beautiful organizations”, reminding us once more to not just look at technology but think of business from a humanistic perspective. He says that by focusing on “creating beauty” we can create situations and environments that help balance out the obsession with bottom-line success, an obsession that can damage or even destroy a company’s culture.

Do the Unnecessary “When you cut the unnecessary, you cut everything.”

Create Intimacy “Never underestimate the power of a ridiculous wig.”

Be Ugly “The first step towards beauty is a huge risk — the risk to be ugly.”

Live in the Grey “It is important that we fully lean into the discomfort of ambiguity.”

Remain Incomplete “Beautiful companies keep asking questions.”

Yuri van Geest, Founder SingularityU Netherlands

Singularity is something that divides people, but the presentation by Yuri, the man who coined the term “exponential organization”, gave us some food for thought.

Yuri spoke about exponential technology – tech that doubles in power or processing speed over time, while its cost halves – and how it can be applied to solve global challenges. He also explained the need to be an exponential organization, which he says are faster and more efficient in leveraging emerging business opportunities. “As software eats the world, every company becomes a software company.”

Our takeaway: For us it was inspiring to hear these perspectives, but we need to consider the use cases. In Sven's opinion: “Yes, we know things are developing fast in the future, but at the end of the day it’s the human beings that can pull the plug. We can steer it in a direction that really makes sense.” 

Yes, we know things are developing fast in the future, but at the end of the day it’s the human beings that can pull the plug. We can steer it in a direction that really makes sense.

Sven-Anwar Bibi
Martin Wezowski, Chief Designer for Global Design, SAP

Martin’s talk really hit the mark. He discussed the role of design in future scenarios, saying it’s not about beautiful interfaces anymore, but the business models that embed these interfaces in the users' context to help them reach their goals.

He spoke about “not making rude machines”; that we need to teach them manners by applying “smart design” based on the context in which they are used. For instance, we get alerts and notifications constantly popping up at inconvenient times, but by understanding the users' context we can make the information relevant and enable people to transform it into knowledge (see pyramid graphic below).

He elaborated on the idea that design is now a discipline/skill for innovation from society to politics. In turn, it places new responsibility and accountability on businesses, innovators and society - everything can be designed. “More than 10% of Fortune 100 companies place design as an executive priority.”

Our takeaway: Nancy says that "It’s true that there’s still too many designers out there who consider themselves as someone who design beautiful interfaces – you need to understand context and data and design better services based on that." 

There’s still too many designers out there who consider themselves as someone who design beautiful interfaces – you need to understand context and data and design better services based on that.

Nancy Birkhölzer
Bart de Witte, Director of Digital Health DACH, IBM Germany

Falling to the ground as he came onstage, Bart played out an example of future healthcare using IBM Watson – “a technology platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data.”

He interacted with the technology – a booming robotic voice – asking it to check his health status to determine why he collapsed. It responded: “The oxygen level in your blood seems to be higher than usual. Your heartbeat is up to 132 and your breathing rate is accelerated.”

The IBM Watson then continued, giving suggestions on what the issue may be after checking his personal information: “I checked your phone, your mailbox, your agenda and sleep patterns. You have a lot of unanswered mails in your mailbox. Using my linguistic capabilities, more specifically to analyze the tone used in your mails, your mails from last week contained 20% more emotional fear and 40% more anger. I also noticed you have eight missed calls from your manager and 10 missed calls from your wife.”

Bart was trying to demonstrate the possibilities of combining quantified self to the health analytics. An entertaining way to announce IBM’s plans to build an automatic diagnosis system.  

Our takeaway: Familiar with our many participatory health projects, our Design Lead Christiane said: "We’re seeing more and more that patients are being empowered by having easy access to their personal data thanks to new eHealth innovations. It’s exciting to think about the possibilities this kind of technology can present in the health context." 

We’re seeing more and more that patients are being empowered by having easy access to their personal data thanks to new eHealth innovations.

Christiane Holzheid

Last but not least, there were a great group of startups showcasing their products and services. Among them were Mellow with their really cool electric skateboard and, as demonstrated by our seamless mobility Director Ingo in the video below, Walberg Urban Electrics’ EGRET electric scooter that can take you up to 25 km per charge! 

Mlove Forum 2016 Aftermovie

Lean back & enjoy the official aftermovie now!

M The MLOVE Forum 2016 official aftermovie