Innovation Open Day at Porsche China: Smart, intelligent and connected

Innovation has very deep roots in Chinese history: With innovations such as papermaking, printing, the compass, and gunpowder (the Four Great Inventions), China has been a world leader in science and technology from early on. Today, China is adopting mobile payment at an incredibly fast pace, faces a financial technology revolution and pioneers in the implementation of AI — becoming a global leader in technology. Long story short: It is an exciting time to be here.

As the Innovation Office of Porsche China, our mission is to act as a powerhouse to inspire, enable, and sustain innovation. Starting in the summer of 2018, we have brought board members and other top executives from the Stuttgart headquarter to a three-day digital immersion tour in China to understand the local innovation ecosystem and strategize a roadmap for China’s future. We quickly followed with a fast-track proof-of-concept joining Chinese and German forces on in-vehicle-infotainment. In the autumn of 2018, we also supported the establishment of a local digital software development unit to fill our missing capability.

Innovation at Porsche in Shanghai

Carrying on the momentum, and based on staff feedback, this year we will also look into bonding and upskilling our internal innovators. A series of activities has been planned to leverage the collective creativity, expertise and knowledge of Porsche colleagues and initiate an Innovators community to tackle new challenges with expert guidance.

To kick start, at the end of July we hosted our first event since moving into our new Porsche China headquarter on Century Avenue in Shanghai — the Innovation Open Day. About 200 employees and 8 external companies attended the event to bring external impulses and Porsche knowledge together and match start-ups with business departments for collaboration, new ideas, and solutions.

Innovation Open Day, 2019, Porsche China
Porsche China team and partners at the Innovation Open Day 2019

ur President and CEO of Porsche China, Jens Puttfarcken, kicked-off the afternoon with an inspiring keynote reviewing the innovative history and spirit of Porsche. During the afternoon, six local start-ups showcased their innovative products and services — from smart valet parking service to smart automobile rear view mirrors, AI assistant robots and AR glasses providing real-time customer insights. Each demonstration was followed by presentations of the startups’ CEOs and founders at the new, multi-functional Innovation Space within our office.

Jens Puttfarcken, President and CEO of Porsche China, at Innovation Open Day

Startups, Venture Capitalists and Porsche China together at one table

The day was followed by a presentation from well-known venture capitalist Zac Pan from Lightspeed China Partners, a local venture capital firm, on Chinese venture capital scene. Additionally, we hosted roundtable discussions between representatives from selected start-ups and different representatives of Porsche China departments such as Customer Relations and Strategy & Business Development. These in-depth exchanges explored the possibilities of improving the Porsche customer experience through an application of new technologies and business models to the automotive industry.

Startup expo are at Innovation Open Day and me trying out new technologies

All in all, the day was a full success. We were able to bring together many people from different areas, exchanged inspiration and experience and displayed the innovation activities at Porsche China. Besides all that, the event also marked the start of our internal communication campaign, which this year will focus on creating a community of internal innovators and a platform for ideation. Supported by our state-of-the-art new headquarter, we’re enthusiastic about further sustaining a culture of innovation — just like our founder has always inspired us to do so.

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