Autonomous Vehicles: The Automotive Ecosystem


This post continues the disruption scenario discussion initiated by my earlier Insurance Industry Case Study. I’ve been using the autonomous vehicle (AV) as an example of a disruptive scenario with potential societal, economical, and environmental impact. In this post, the focus shifts to the scenario’s possible effect on the automotive ecosystem.

Autonomous vehicle technology can be viewed using a five-part continuum suggested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), with different benefits realized at different levels of automation:

Driverless Car Continuum

Last month, an IHS Automotive study predicted the world will have nearly 54 million self-driving cars by 2035. The study also predicts that nearly all vehicles in use are likely to be self-driving cars or self-driving commercial vehicles sometime after 2050. Meanwhile, automakers and others are unveiling both their plans for – and introduction of – automated features: 

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Why Focus on Disruption?


My post on the disruptive implications of the Autonomous Vehicle generated dialog that has been very insightful and provocative. Before posting additional analysis of the societal, economical, and environmental impact of emerging disruptive scenarios, I wanted to restate my reason for doing so, and share some great perspective from leaders that engaged in this recent dialog. I launched this last series to support the growing belief that: 1) we are entering what is likely the most transformative period in history, and 2) this should drive a sense of urgency for leaders everywhere. This coming period brings with it many possible disruptive scenarios, each with its own set of consequences. In my experience, leaders view these scenarios as too far off into the future to warrant their time – we’ve been conditioned to think short term. In their new book The Second Machine Age, Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson provide their perspective on why the time to focus on the future is now. The three forces they describe (exponential, digital, and combinatorial) are perhaps the best description of the drivers behind the accelerating effect of disruption.

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Autonomous Vehicles: A Disruption Case Study


At a recent news conference, U.S. federal transportation officials described Talking Cars and their ability to avoid deadly crashes by seeing it coming before you do. The U.S. government will likely require automakers to equip new vehicles with technology that lets cars warn each other if trouble lies ahead. A radio signal would continually transmit a vehicle’s position, heading, speed, and other information. Your vehicle would receive the same information back from other cars, and the on board computer would alert its driver to an impending collision. Alerts would come in varying forms: a flashing message, an audible warning, or a driver’s seat that rumbles. Some systems might even automatically brake to avoid an accident if that option is included. Examples of what the technology enables:

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Large Companies and Innovation


“The pace of innovation is about to surge – and more powerfully than ever before”

That sentiment comes straight from a new book titled: The New Killer Apps: How Large Companies Can Out-Innovate Start-Ups. As obvious as that statement seems, many leaders still act as if nothing is really changing – or any impact to their business is too far into the future to worry. This well written book focuses on the problem with this kind of thinking. Anyone that has worked in a corporate setting will resonate with the challenges identified in this book. Behavior at every level of an organization is the biggest obstacle to innovation and the identification of what the authors call “Doomsday Scenarios”. Most of us are familiar with traditional company politics and turf-driven behaviors. The authors conclude as I have, that most bias in an organization goes toward keeping the status quo.

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A Closer Look at Transformation: Growth


2014 will see an acceleration and expansion of transformation programs. All the dynamics are in place to create a compelling reason for companies to transform. This 14 part series takes a closer look at transformation and the likely path it takes in the next decade. This is the first piece in the series. Links to the other parts of the series are included at the end of this post.

In my last Post , I focused on three recent thought leadership pieces:

  1. Middle class job Creation – Geoffrey Moore
  2. Disruptive Technologies – Mckinsey
  3. New Machine Age – Andrew McAfee

These pieces continue to describe the transformative period that lies ahead. As we look at this and other thought provoking pieces, our job as leaders is to assess the potential impact to our organizations. Readers of my Blog know that I have focused my own assessment on the enterprise of 2020, or what I have been calling the Digital Enterprise. So I have worked to develop a high level road map based on my own perspective and experiences, ongoing executive dialog, and key pieces of market thought leadership. I will use the next several Blog posts to summarize my thinking. The road map is focused in two key areas: The forcing functions that drive the need to transform and the enablers that require investment to get us there. Forcing functions are those things that force the enterprise to invest in a future state. The forcing functions and a vision to address them are critical, as far too many leaders continue to sit on the sidelines with no impetus to invest in this future enterprise.

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Geoffrey Moore: The Tide has Turned


In a recent Blog post as part of the LinkedIn thought leadership series, Geoffrey Moore states that The Tide has Turned. He sees signals that the consumer IT boom has peaked and the focus will shift to the enterprise. Here is a quote from his post – including a very powerful line – which I underlined:

“2013, in my view, will be the first of five to seven very productive years for IT vendors serving the enterprise, as sector after sector in our economy and around the world capitulates to digital transformation.”

I think he’s right about 2013, and I outlined my Thoughts at the end of 2012. Mr. Moore uses the word capitulate – and I believe he chose the perfect word. To capitulate means to give up resistance, and that implies that digital transformation is a foregone conclusion. To resist is futile – yet through 2012, so many companies continued to do just that. Now that we are almost through January, I’m seeing signs of the tide turning. There is a fundamental shift in the way companies are looking at digital. For although digital is the underlying cause of disruption across sectors; it is also the enabler of next generation enterprises. When viewed through that lens, the need to transform becomes much more apparent. Many more discussions must start with digital disruption as the business driver, and then shift to digital as the enabler. We could be moving in this direction – as isolated conversations about Social, Mobile, Big Data, and Cloud, shift to a business conversation where the convergence of these innovations plays a vital role.

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The CIO and the Future of Enterprise IT


The Big Four areas of innovation (Social, Cloud, Mobile, and Big Data) have generated much discussion about their transformative and disruptive nature. As I’ve described in a recent post, the future enterprise is a Digital Enterprise.  In the last two months, I’ve been involved in several forums where the discussion centered on the future of Enterprise IT, and more specifically, the changing role of the CIO. While there are no clear answers, there are a lot of opinions and much speculation. 

I’ve been on the side of this argument that believes significant change is coming to Enterprise IT – and for that matter – current organization structures. The big four have created an environment that can’t flourish in traditional command and control models. In a recent IBM CEO Study, CEOs emphasized the need for openness and collaboration. Openness has clear benefits, as empowered employees drive better results by generating ideas, bringing creativity to the innovation process, and delighting customers. But as the study points out, openness comes with risk. The open culture required for success will drive companies to align employee and company values in a way that encourages value-driven decision making – not control-driven. What this translates to in terms of organization design is anyone’s guess – but organizational change is coming to the Digital Enterprise. 

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2012 IBM CEO Study


The 2012 IBM CEO Study is now available: IBM CEO Study -2012.  This study provides further evidence that the world is shifting to what Geoffrey Moore has termed “Systems of Engagement”. This quote from the report would indicate that CEOs see the writing on the wall: 

“The view that technology is primarily a driver of efficiency is outdated; CEOs now see technology as an enabler of collaboration and relationships — those essential connections that fuel creativity and innovation. Simply put, technology is reinventing connections with — and among — employees, customers and partners.” 

This study underscores my long time premise that collaboration and analytic excellence is required to be successful in this new systems of engagement era. Those that think this is just another cycle or a passing fad are greatly mistaken. We are at a unique point in history – driven by a perfect storm of innovation as highlighted by this quote: 

“Today’s CEOs are in a position few of their predecessors have faced. Although there have been many eras of technology disruption in the past, several factors make this period different. First, a number of new technologies are rippling through society at the same time, and they’re being adopted much faster. In addition, disruptive technologies of previous eras almost always originated in business or government, and then spread to consumers. But recent advances are flowing in the reverse direction and are being absorbed more rapidly by the younger generation.” 

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