07/26/2017

Porsche is banking on innovation

Porsche is investing in order to increase its innovation power and accelerate the digital transformation: During Porsche’s first phase of conducting pilot projects with founders in the context of Startup Autobahn program, the sports car manufacturer has successfully completed 14 projects.

Continuation of the innovation campaign at Porsche: Startup Autobahn is a neutral innovation platform moderating an in-depth and curated collaboration between core partners from industry, investment firms and mentors to help the growth of startup companies. Plug & Play, the Silicon Valley accelerator and investor, is facilitating this joint project together with Plug & Play Germany GmbH, Daimler AG, ARENA2036, University of Stuttgart, Hewlett Packard Enterprise/DXC Technology, ZF Friedrichshafen, BASF, Porsche, Deutsche Post DHL Group and the ecosystem partner Murata, HELLA as well BENTELER. Startups from all over the world are invited to submit their applications for the accelerator program on the future of mobility and Industry 4.0.

Blume: “The pilot projects give rise to prototypes for use in specific applications”

“The contest thrives upon fantastic ideas, its network and the partnerships. We bring together groundbreaking technologies and innovative business models. The pilot projects give rise to prototypes for use in specific applications. The goal of our campaign is to develop Porsche into a leading provider of digital mobility solutions in the premium automotive segment”, says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board at Porsche.

One example out of the 14 prototypes is the project with Susi & James. The start-up has developed a digital personal assistant that combines human experts and a chatbot via artificial intelligence. Porsche and Susi & James now have created a speaking user manual.

“We are broadening our horizons and working on building an ecosystem with suitable partners. Startup Autobahn is an ideal platform in this regard. And it gives us a way to bring innovation to our company and turn the entrepreneurial spirit into a tangible reality for all employees,” says Patrick Kück, Director Strategy and Innovation at Porsche.

Interview

Patrick Kück explains why innovation has a long tradition at Porsche and what contribution Startup Autobahn is making.

Patrick Kück, what does it mean to be innovative?

Creativity means having new ideas, and innovation means putting these ideas to work.

You have launched an innovation campaign at Porsche as part of your Strategy 2025. Why is that?

For one thing, the demands that customers are placing on cars and mobility in general are undergoing enormous change. And for another, quantum leaps in automotive engineering and production are compelling us to think in completely different ways. The key concepts here are electrification, digitization, and connectivity. They represent a break in the system for the automotive industry, including Porsche. On the one hand, that’s a huge challenge, but on the other it’s also a huge opportunity. We still want to be the most successful brand for exclusive and sporty mobility in the future. And to get there we are striking new paths.

Isn’t Porsche innovative enough?
This much is certain: Porsche has been and will continue to be innovative. The 356, 911, the 718 series, Cayenne, and Macan, as well as technological front-runners like the 959, Carrera GT, and 918 Spyder, epitomize the culture of individual sports cars. The Targa design, the exhaust gas turbocharger in the 911 and the transaxle transmission in the 924 for instance are technological highlights. Porsche invented the hybrid drive. With the LMP1-three times Le Mans winner in a row and world champion – Porsche has once again revolutionized and dominated sports-car racing. Mission E – the first purely battery-operated Porsche model – sets standards in performance, dynamics, range, and charging time. Zuffenhausen and Weissach are truly a hot spot of the sports-car industry. Now we are challenging ourselves for reaching exactly this level of innovative power when speaking about new topics such as Smart Mobility.

Clearly Porsche has a long-running history of innovation. Does this weigh heavily on the culture of ideas?

Not at all. Tradition means responsibility. It fuels us. Tradition and innovation are two sides of the Porsche coin. You can’t separate them. Without our tradition we wouldn’t be where we are today. It sustains us. But if tradition means “We’ve always done it one way, so let’s leave it the way it is,” then that’s dangerous. Without innovation, the whole idea of individual mobility is threatened. As someone once put it, “Yes, but…” won’t get you anywhere, while “Yes, and…” will. The important thing is to be innovative without divorcing ourselves from tradition.

How do you intend to realize this approach?

New technologies and business models are becoming a bigger feature of our industry. We need to understand and test them for ourselves. And what’s more, we need to adopt the pioneering spirit embodied by Ferdinand Porsche. He once said: If one does not fail at times, then one has not challenged himself. What we need is the openness and speed that many founders have. But that is not such an easy thing to impose. Instead, you have to experience it and let it inspire you. Therefore, we are broadening our horizons and working on building an ecosystem with suitable partners. Startup Autobahn is an ideal platform in this regard. And it gives us a way to bring innovation to our company and turn the entrepreneurial spirit into a tangible reality for all employees.

Consumption data

718 Boxster: Fuel consumption combined 7.4 – 6.9 l/100 km; CO2-emissions 168 – 158 g/km

718 Boxster S: Fuel consumption combined 8.1 – 7.3 l/100 km; CO2-emissions 184 – 167 g/km

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