Break Out to Open Innovation


Journal Winter 2022 Situation

Working with an open company accelerator program permits Mercedes to extra rapidly incorporate new applied sciences from startups.

Denis Bettenmann, Ferran Giones, Alexander Brem, and Philipp Gneiting

Studying Time: 12 min 

Picture courtesy of Daniel Garcia/theispot.com

Mercedes-Benz AG produces over 2 million passenger automobiles yearly for a worldwide market within the throes of transformation. Automakers are assembly new calls for for electrification and connectivity, new rivals are arising, and prospects have new expectations, akin to the need for sustainable mobility. All of those traits are driving the necessity to pace innovation in each side of the automotive trade.

In 2016, R&D and digital enterprise managers at Mercedes’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, realized that their efforts to collaborate with startups — a useful supply of exterior innovation — have been being hampered by the corporate’s present innovation processes. These processes have been overly targeted on inside growth and ready-to-implement options supplied by the corporate’s established base of suppliers and weren’t nicely suited to uncertainty-ridden collaborations with promising expertise startups. The corporate wanted an innovation pathway able to extra successfully integrating startups earlier within the R&D course of and considerably decreasing the time required to establish, develop, take a look at, and implement their most promising applied sciences and options.

In response, a brand new staff inside R&D was fashioned to construct a greater bridge between the promising concepts of exterior startups and the innovation wants of Mercedes’s inside enterprise models. The staff joined forces with companions from academia and trade to cofound Startup Autobahn, what we name an open company accelerator (CA). In contrast to a traditional company accelerator — usually established by a single firm for its personal profit — an open CA welcomes a number of sponsor firms and may appeal to a broader array of extra mature startups. This mannequin, also referred to as a consortium accelerator, improves sponsor entry to exterior innovation and enhances the general competitiveness of regional ecosystems.1

Startup Autobahn is operated by the Plug and Play Tech Heart on the ARENA2036 analysis campus of the College of Stuttgart. Since its founding, it has attracted 30 massive company sponsors (purchasers for startup options), together with automotive OEMs and suppliers, in addition to firms from different industries, akin to IT, logistics, and chemical compounds. It has enabled Mercedes, in its function as a sponsor, to display screen 1000’s of startups, execute greater than 150 pilot tasks, and implement 17 modern options.

For example, Mercedes labored with a startup named What3Words to collectively develop a voice-activated navigation system that guides customers to express areas by dividing the world into 57 billion 3-meter squares.

References

1. S. Moschner, A.A. Fink, S. Kurpjuweit, et al., “Towards a Higher Understanding of Company Accelerator Fashions,” Enterprise Horizons 62, no. 5 (September-October 2019): 637-647.

2. J.P. Eggers and Ok.F. Park, “Incumbent Adaptation to Technological Change: The Previous, Current, and Way forward for Analysis on Heterogeneous Incumbent Response,” Academy of Administration Annals 12, no. 1 (January 2018): 357-389.

3. R.Ok. Shankar and D.A. Shepherd, “Accelerating Strategic Match or Enterprise Emergence: Totally different Paths Adopted by Company Accelerators,” Journal of Enterprise Venturing 34, no. 5 (September 2019): 1-19.

4. S. Falk and F. Riemensperger, “Three Classes From Germany’s Platform Economic system,” MIT Sloan Administration Assessment, Aug. 5, 2019, https://sloanreview.mit.edu.

5. Ok. Prexl, M. Hubert, S. Beck, et al., “Figuring out and Analysing the Drivers of Heterogeneity Amongst Ecosystem Builder Accelerators,” R&D Administration 49, no. 4 (September 2019): 624-638.

6. That is enabled however not dictated by the open CA mannequin. Some sponsors in Startup Autobahn select to make fairness investments in startups.

7. Ok.J. Boudreau and Ok.R. Lakhani, “How you can Handle Outdoors Innovation,” MIT Sloan Administration Assessment 50, no. 4 (summer time 2009): 69-76.





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