Embracing Open Innovation to Prevent Complacency

May 12, 2017 By IdeaConnection

In an interview with The Nikkei, a daily financial newspaper, Honda Motor’s President and CEO Takahiro Hachigo talked about the importance of open innovation to his company.

Among its principle reasons for reaching out to external sources of expertise is to continue to be competitive and to prevent complacency from settling in.

Innovation is fast moving in the automotive industry, and the Japanese automaker, which sells fewer cars than Toyota and others, wants to keep up.  It currently shifts around five million vehicles a year, but hopes to see an increase in that number.

To help give it a competitive edge, the company has been looking for partners, especially in the fields of artificial intelligence and autonomous driving.

“The conventional wisdom in the auto industry is undergoing big changes,” said Hachigo. “Technology is evolving more quickly. Doing everything yourself can get expensive and lead to complacency. Without connecting with people in fields like IT and communications, we would never be able to adapt to new technologies.”

Developing the Next Generation of Vehicles

As a result of the multinational’s open innovation activities, Hachigo hopes to see the development of new kinds of cars, such as fuel cell vehicles as well as keeping down procurement costs and easing spending on research and development.

The CEO also sees value in reaching out to a broad base of potential partners. He doesn’t want to limit the company by working only with those in its own field.

“Honda is skilled in some technologies, less so with others,” added Hachigo.  “We have to link up with other fields to absorb technology and expertise we don’t have. Waymo, Google’s autonomous driving affiliate that we entered into talks with at the end of last year, has sensor R&D know-how that is completely apart from Honda’s technology.”


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Reader Comments

I've owned Honda's for many years because they will stop the assembly line if there is a known failure and are big on product quality and reliability. Let other companies spend money on autonomous technologies. Keep your engineers trained on AI and study the faults of others. Unless people are miraculously sold on A T and the forgoers survive the onslaught of lawsuits you will continue to emerge as a winner as long as you remain focused on innovation and remain
staunch practitioners of fuel economy and alternative fuel technologies. Do people want self driving vehicles or fuel, maintenance and depreciation savings? I personally think A T technology will eventually be shelved do to environmental unreliability, mass litigation and the money spent on it before and long after will be wasted.
With over thirty years in the automotive industry seeing what the brutal northern US winters can pose to our vehicles and their systems, I know first hand that failure will be a much bigger problem than predicted. Mr Hachigo, do what you do best and improve on perfection. Lets not re invent the A T wheel.
Posted by Rodney Morin on September 19, 2017

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