Porsche Open Innovation Contest Aims to Disrupt Car Industry

Published Sep-18-17

Breakthrough:
Disruptive uses of blockchain technology within the automotive industry.

Company:
Porsche, Germany

The Story:

Porsche Open Innovation Contest Aims to Disrupt Car Industry Blockchain technology is the distributed, encrypted ledger technology that powers the crypto currency bitcoin, an ingenious invention that consists of a continually growing list of records (blocks) which are linked and secured using cryptography. German motor company Porsche is one of several car manufacturers exploring how this relatively new technology can be applied to the automotive industry. In fact, Blockchain has applications in many different arenas, including financial services, digital identity, and real estate.

Porsche Engages External Expertise

To find ways to leverage the technology Porsche decided to cast its net wide by launching an open innovation contest in 2017. It called for blockchain solutions from the startup community. "Porsche aims to obtain external input on the disruptive potential of the blockchain transaction system by collaborating with the startup scene," said a statement released at the time of the launch. It added that it is actively seeking future cooperation partners and suppliers, not to get an equity share on those partners, but to form a strong collaborative relationship.

The integration of blockchain technology into its vehicles could have several benefits. They include extra protection for its web-based infrastructure, data management and new features for its hybrid/electric vehicles (HEV). The key question Porsche wants answered is to what extent the application of this technology in the value creation chain of the company makes sense.

This wasn't the first time Porsche went outside its four walls for fresh thinking, ideas, and perspectives. In 2016 and 2017 it worked with numerous companies to add a variety of technologies to its vehicles, such as connected in-car services and real-time notification systems.

Blockchain Advances

More than 100 startups and companies got involved, demonstrating how they would implement blockchain-based solutions within the automotive field. After evaluating submissions, the sports car manufacturer selected one winner of its first Porsche Innovation Contest on blockchain technology and that was Xain AG – a blockchain startup based in Europe.

"The project is a great opportunity. Together with Porsche, we now want to continue our pioneering work on blockchain technology," said Leif-Nissen Lundbaek, CEO and co-founder of Xain. At the time of writing this article, neither Porsche nor Xain AG have revealed how they are going to make use of Blockchain.

However, the winners picked up 25,000 euros in prize money (approx. USD $30,000) and three-month participation in SpinLab, an accelerator program for startups run by the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. The hope is that this will result in a blockchain-based prototype.

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