Audi Looks to the Future of Car Production
Novel concepts and ideas from all over the world are submitted to help Audi design the future of automotive production.
For the last decade open innovation has been helping an increasing number of companies to speed up their innovation processes and get more products to market in quicker time frames. But this valuable collaborative business strategy isn't just for the development of gadgets and widgets; it can also be applied to the processes that create them.
For the past few years the German-based car manufacturer Audi has organized a global open innovation competition focused on the future of automotive production. The Audi Production Award invites students, engineers, scientists and anybody who may be interested to submit and develop their visionary ideas.
People in Production
Under the slogan "People in Production", the 2012 competition invited participants to think about how people will work in production in the future, and the kind of concepts that the future of production will require.
The contest drew a healthy response with more than 70 submitted ideas. They were looked at by a panel of judges that consisted of experts from Audi’s pre-development and innovation teams. They selected seven finalists who were invited to attend a workshop at Audi headquarters in Ingolstadt, where their ideas were presented and put through their paces.
As a result, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence was chosen as the winner of the €5,000 (approx. USD $6,500) grand prize. The winning concept looked at mobility, social networking and the digital factory introducing novel assistance systems, networking and training. The idea can be used in planning, production and assembly, assuming a realistic representation of the possible production processes for virtual training.
After the prize was awarded Dr. Frank Dreves, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Production discussed the importance of new ideas, and how people are always going to be at the heart of the production process:
"The focus is on people. As a guide to quality and performance, this is one of the key elements in Audi production system. Issues such as welfare, health and, in particular, recognition, will be increasingly important in the future. The dialogue between science and industry, as well as the arrival of new ideas, are vital for production.”
Value of Open Innovation Contests
There isn't any onus on the car giant to adopt any of the submitted ideas, and it hasn't broadcast any such plans to do so. But having a continuous dialogue with a diverse audience is helping to focus the thinking of company scientists and engineers.
The contest participants retain the copyright and rights of their ideas, and can use them in any way they see fit. However, by submitting their ideas they give their consent to Audi’s right to implement their submission, either in part or in full.
Even though there may be no immediate tangible benefit to open innovation competitions such as this, the advantages for both participants and hosts are many. For example:
• Participants get to present their ideas to a large, potentially worldwide stage
• Firms don't have to travel anywhere to access brilliant people, they come
• Hosting companies can have their research taken in new and fresh directions.
This can help them to stay at the cutting edge and get ahead of current
thinking in their industry
• Open innovation contests can be cost-effective recruitment tools
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