Archive for Blog

Le Mans 24 Hours Innovation Edge

In business terms innovation has become a buzzword; it seems that everything needs to be innovative in order to succeed generating sustainability and growth: products, services, overall business models. In reality sustainability and growth are not simply linked to a commonly shared concept of innovation (innovation means to be creative, to think and act in original ways), rather innovation that generates results is more complex in its foundations (innovations has its roots in applying original thinking that actually achieve desired results: ineffective original thinking is simply creative, not innovative). Any company that truly thrives on innovation understands and applies this consideration as a matter of fact.

Recently I  have had the opportunity to spend some intense hours in the unique setting of the Le Mans 24 hours as a fascinated enthusiastic spectator from the grandstands as well as from the pits and paddock. It is the pits and paddock perspective that has made me associate Le Mans’ overall context to a continuous search for the actual innovation described above.

It is a given that technological innovation, developed within regulations boundaries, determines a key competitive advantage mostly within a race characterised by the integrated focus on extreme performance and extensive endurance. It is not a given to realise that such sophisticated technology totally depends on the human factor’s synergised actions in order to achieve concrete and consistent results (and the human factor comprises everyone: management, engineers, drivers, mechanics, support staff).

In these terms the 24 Hours of Le Mans exemplifies at best the innovation edge represented by Motorsport because of its unique characteristics and complexities. In fact, innovation is not simply a matter of research and development, it is also a matter of finding original practical solutions to make them work and manage emerging challenges. Action within Le Mans pits effectively represents these concepts and certainly some of the extemporaneous solutions that arise from the unique mix of technology and human factor find further refinement and elaboration after the race and become sources of further research and innovation. All in all this can concretely generate an innovation mindset widespread within the racing team and the overall Motorsport organisation.

Three key factors

From this perspective, Le Mans 24 hours’ innovation edge inspires some observations that can be quite useful for any organisation that concretely and consistently wants to grow leveraging on pragmatic innovation. Three key factor surface in a distinct way: a) the need for total synergic organisational interdependence ; b) the need for structure in order to be fast and dynamic towards the achievement of the set goal ; c) the realisation that any detail, no matter how trivial, counts and it can make the difference towards the affirmation of innovative practices.

Synergic interdependence means that effective innovation depends upon the professional integrated effort of any single role (drivers, management, engineers, crew members; everyone has a direct essential influence on manifesting actual innovation). Organisational charts with defined roles and responsibilities are on evident display in Le Mans’ pits where effective action and effective solutions require no hesitation and cannot afford effort overlaps. It all hinges on a consistent overall focus on any detail: an original solution will remain at the creative level until all details involved into it line-up towards an actual effective result turning creativity into actual innovation.

To understand what actual innovation is, and the actual complexities it involves, an inside look to the 24 Hours of Le Mans can represent a source of pragmatic inspiration to any company in any field.

(by Riccardo Paterni, article already published on June 25th 2018 in WinningFomula.io)

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

Visiting AutoChina 2018 in Beijing

Riccardo Paterni has attended the opening day (April 25th) of the AutoChina 2018 auto show in Beijing. The sector is more dynamic than ever in China: set to have one of the global leadership position not only in operational but also technological ways necessary to ensure product efficiency, performance, reliability and overall appreciation within an Electric Vehicles framework that is booming. Innovation is a key focus from multiple perspectives that will be featured in the book.


(AutoChina 2018 blog)

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

MOTORSPORT: BACK TO THE FUTURE FROM ITS ELECTRIC ROOTS

During the last few months electric motorsport has made several headlines: announcements of new series (among others several, and the number keeps rising: support series to the MotoGP, GT series, Global RallyCross Challenge); technical and commercial upgrades of present ones (see Formula E); new record seeking challenges in classic racing venues (see for example the VW prototype and the Pikes Peak hillclimb).

Formula E in Rome (Credits CNN International)

We have come to associate electric motorsport to something innovative and futuristic; in actuality it is thanks to electric power that performance has begun to be associated with the emerging newly born filed of automotive at the end of the 1800s.

On December 18th 1898 the French Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat was the first protagonist of an officially recorded land speed record with an electric car made by stagecoach-maker Jeantaud; top speed reached 63,15kmh. Over the next few months a head to head duel among the Count and a the Belgian Camille Jenatzy (nicknamed ‘Diable Rouge’ – Red Devil – for his beard) was unfolded. On April 29th 1899 the ‘Red Devil’ set the new official land speed record by riding an electric powered CITA 25 ‘Jamais Contente’ – Never Satisfied – for the first time over 100kmh, exactly 105,88kmh. Yet battery charges represented the limiting factor and this became the last successful attempt to improve the record with an electric engine. During the next few years new technologies replaced electric power as a source of speed: steam (beginning in 1902, last record marked in 1906) and then internal combustion (beginning in 1902 onwards) engines took over the record making competition, the automotive market and altogether the progressively increasing number of motorsport events.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, new battery technologies have stimulated further research into electric power related to mobility and this has generated progressive investments into the field. Once again this has come to involve record seeking motorsport events to showcase the resurgent relevance of electric power (last year the NIO EP9 has conquered the overall best lap record at the legendary challenging Nurburgring track and has held the top spot for a couple of months).

Electric vehicles are becoming so relevant (due also to important stands taken by several governments) that nearly all of the key global automotive manufacturers are making substantial investments driven by the need to boost electric energy efficiency in mobility while leveraging upon the levels of performance that electric power can generate.

In a way we are going back to the relentless times of the ‘Red Devil’ and its ‘Never Satisfied’ electric powered land speed record car: we are living through an intense momentum of motorsport evolution and revolution from a technology, entertainment and also overall commercial point of view in which the ties of motorsport and mobility appear to be more relevant than ever.

To note that several Italian small to mid sized companies have unique know-how and experiences that are contributing in important ways to the development of relevant electric motorsport projects.

We will talk also about this during a conference that is going to be held in Rome on April 13th 2018 regarding the overall growth and development of companies involved in any motorsport format. At this link the introduction and flyer of the event illustrating its purposes and contents

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

HIGH PERFORMANCE ENGINEERING, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES AND INTERNATIONALIZATION: INDUSTRY 4.0 AND BEYOND (part 2 of 2)

As second part to the article (the previous is at this link) there are three aspects to point out: 1) the global dynamics context opportunities related to SMEs rooted in Motorsport, 2) along this way of thinking several direct links that the Motorsport Industry has with principles and practices of current and future manufacturing (Industry 4.0) and 3) tools that SMEs can utilise in order to maximise at best the expression and profitable utilisation of know-how developed and in development.

AWARENESS ON ‘GOING GLOBAL’ OPPORTUNITIES

McLaren Headquarters

Motorsport has historically been a sport and an industry driven at the national and only occasionally international level. Over the last few decades, along with many other sports and industries, motorsport , both as a sport and as an industry has felt the effects of globalisation.

Formula 1 has led the way, with races being held on an increasingly global playing field over the last few decades. The industry has followed suit, where once it was beholden to Italy’s Emilia Romagna, focus changed to UK’s Motorsport Valley, and in the new millennia, an increasing globalisation of the motorsport supply chain across Europe into Asia and the Americas.

Alongside globalisation has come industry diversification. Where once firms focused purely on the motorsport market, the realisation that the skills and competences inherent in motorsport have intrinsic value elsewhere, has led to motorsport firms entering new sectors as diverse as medical, aviation and defence.

MOTORSPORT AND INDUSTRY 4.0

As a more articulated example on how the Motorsport Industry can relate to other fields in a dynamic and profound way we look at one of the latest key developments in manufacturing.

This is represented by an overall productive system coined as ‘Industry 4.0 ”that can be defined as “the next phase in the digitization of the manufacturing sector, driven by four disruptions: the astonishing rise in data volumes, computational power, and connectivity, especially new low-power wide-area networks; the emergence of analytics and business-intelligence capabilities; new forms of human-machine interaction such as touch interfaces and augmented-reality systems; and improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world, such as advanced robotics and 3-D printing” (*).

Those aspects that characterise Industry 4.0 have been part and are active part of the Motorsport ways to work from a technological and human perspective; more in details:

Big data – high level motorsport one of the most intense environments for data capture. Military grade sensors capture every variable of a cars performance and feed it back across continents to team HQ’s where advanced analytics are undertaken in real time

Advanced analytics – undertaken in real time in a continuous feedback loop to improve the performance of the vehicle while in a real time race situation.

Human machine interfaces – the development of autonomous vehicles requiring a certain level of human oversight in specific circumstances is an area where motorsport firms TRL 4-7 (Technology Readiness Levels – see following paragraphs for additional information) capability can enable prototyping, and their long experience of one of the most extreme human/machine interacts offers opportunities for this technology to develop in an extreme environment – on the track.

Digital to physical transfer – F1 teams have been using 3D printers for a decade on site at races and off site at factories. High level motorsport is renowned for its rapid prototyping, this shortening production time, and the increased use of digital to physical plays into the existing skills set of high level motorsport.

IDENTIFYING AND LEVERAGING ON VALUE ADDING ASSETS

Given this contextual, strategic and operational framework there are a series of technical managerial aspects a Motorsport Industry SME company needs to fine tue in order to utilise at best the opportunities that it can tackle:

  1. Define the identity of the company, in other words: a) define the vision (the why it exists), the long term scope, the purpose of the enterprise (and we have seen as almost by default many companies in this industry can broaden the scope even within a strong focus on specific outputs); b) define the mission (the what it does), relevant to the vision and last but not least c) define the values (the how), the behavioural principles feeding mission and vision.
  2. Gain awareness and relate the very own operations (from a strategic point of view) to the TRL (Technology Readiness Level); a measure developed by NASA suitable to identify the stages of development of an innovative product (for a practical case-studies illustration please look at the presentation that we made at a conference at London’s Regent’s University on the topic: MOTORSPORT INDUSTRY: DRIVING INNOVATION AND INDUSTRY DIVERSIFICATION
  3. Utilised some analysis tools (as for example SWOT, PESTLE, Porter’s 5 Forces analysis and Business Canvas) we specifically modified to the Motorsport Industry characteristics in order to shape up relevant Business Models concerning what is current and new scenarios relevant to the foreseen business development.

Overall this will empower the company to gain a new perspective on the own capabilities given on know-how already present and know-how that could be readily developed given the very own characteristics of these SMEs from a technological and cultural point of view (again see the presentation and case studies above mentioned).

article written with Tim Angus

Technical references and tools

(*) “Manufacturing Next Act” by Baur and Wee McKinsey and Company June 2015

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

 

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

WHEN MOTORSPORT DRIVES R&D IN MANY FIELDS. THE TECNO ELETTRA IMPIANTI CASE STUDY

Innovation springs from many sources of knowledge and experiences converging in one unique original project or solution. This is what the Italian company Tecno Elettra Impianti

has been developing since the late 1970s across several fields (Motorsport, Defence, Aerospace, Railways, Road Safety) in which Motorsport Research & Development can be considered as a common denominator.

Tecno Elettra Impianti’s research fields of application

In the book, through an in depth interview with the charismatic company founder, Leo Cantergiani, we go to the roots of many innovations from very unique perspectives; this represent a source of inspiration and practical drive for any company that wishes to fully utilise its know-how for effective original impacts on markets.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

 

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

HIGH PERFORMANCE ENGINEERING, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES AND INTERNATIONALIZATION: TIMES OF CHANGE BRING SOUND OPPORTUNITIES (PART 1 OF 2)

The field of high performance engineering, with a particular focus on the ones that relate to the Motorsport Industry, are going through global technological and business development changes. The right kind of mindset and strategic tools are essential to generate and utilise at best the opportunities that such changes generate.

Motorsport Engineering – credits AME

NOTHING CAN BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED

The enduring troubles in the working relationship between McLaren and Honda have brought to the attention of pundits and general public alike that organisational culture’s ways to work do matter when trying to establish a strong cooperations among entities that belong to different cultural and mindset contexts.

Honda (appearing to have solved some of its performance and reliability troubles during the recent Malaysian Gran Prix) is betting again on its F1 future with a new partner, Toro Rosso. Lots of energy and positivity has been ritually declared within the announcement of the deal. James Key (Toro Rosso Director) has pointed out that “We look forward to a strong, stable and proactive partnership with our colleagues at Honda”, Takahiro Hachigo has stated “Everyone at Honda is looking forward to working with Toro Rosso, and we are excited to start this new chapter in our Formula 1 journey with them. (…) Honda and Toro Rosso will work as one team to strive for progress and a successful future together”. Two key words to watch for in these statements are ‘proactive’ and ‘one team’; if the two entities will manage to concretely put them into practice results will be reached.

On the organisational culture topic Honda’s Motorsport General Manager has pointed out that things did not work out with McLaren because clearly Honda failed to reach the set goals of performance (reasons for which we have written about in previous articles) yet quite interestingly he states “What we have learned from McLaren is that they have a long history, the company is pretty big, everything is systematic and everything is sorted out so may be we can apply those systems, the way of thinking, into our development”. At the same time he states “On the other hand McLaren is sometimes too systematic. Because of the system they have, it is sometimes difficult to make small tweaks for improvements – it takes a bit of time. May be with Toro Rosso, they are small enough to make changes quicker”.

Proactive, one team, a less systemic more flexible approach to change and development; they seem a possible recipe to reach targets that the ‘one-team’ will set. It is certainly evident that Liberty Media facilitated the deal in order to keep in F1 a relevant global automotive manufacturer. At the same time even this represents one of the many opportunities that is important to identify and catch.

CREATING CONCRETE SYNERGIES FOR GROWTH

In High Performance Engineering and Motorsport’s management terms all of this becomes meaningful because it points out that today working with companies internationally requires setting up cooperative dynamic synergies ready to face continuos changes (caused by factors as market dynamics, budgets, new series that are attracting investments) and this requires a strong sense of cultural awareness to be utilised as a leverage to success.

The question that any organisation should ask is: how do I need to create the specific value essential to a synergic success? To note that nowadays any lasting relationship with clients needs to be perceived from the perspective of a partnership where nothing is taken for granted.

In other words how know-how assets are integrated in such partnerships in order to generate overall value and growth for all (achieving results on track is in these terms a metaphor for achieving results on any given market).

Assumptions, at the roots of expectations, need to be spelled out from the beginning and rooted on facts and hard data as much as possible in order to integrate and synergies organisational cultures.

AN EXAMPLE: RENAULT SPORT F1 AND MICROSOFT

Recently Renault Sport Pierre d’Imbleval has illustrated a concrete example that illustrate these dynamics is the one relevant to the partnership between Renault Sport Formula One Team and Microsoft. Renault Sport has spelled out the key requirements: the need to use technology as an essential support to implement technical changes at an increasingly faster pace; the need to channel and elaborate at best data gathering; the need to share swiftly information among several departments in order to stimulate organisational cooperation. The pragmatism of Microsoft’s organisational culture has focused on these needs utilising technological solutions already available in its portfolio or customising new ones. All of this has strengthen Microsoft’s know-how by putting it to the test within one of the most challenging competitive environments while establishing in the process successful operational and branding synergies with Renault.

MOVING FORWARD

Change is constant and relevant in any market, high performance engineering and Motorsport Industry in particular because of its very own nature. The leveraging power of clear assumptions, expectations and organisational cultural awareness are key aspects to manage for any Small and Medium Enterprise wishing to grow through the development of solid long term synergies with global organisations of any size. Updating and upgrading the way that business strategies are developed is part of the entire process and it will be described in the upcoming second part of this article.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

WHAT LIBERTY MEDIA IS INNOVATING COMMERCIALLY FOR F1…

This AUTOSPORT Plus article, by the title ‘Why Formula 1 fans revolution is coming’ features a very interesting in depth review with #SeanBratches , Commercial Chief of #LibertyMedia #F1 project, on new ways to reshape the way F1 relates to the external world.

Daniel Ricciardo reaching out to fans

It shows in how many different ways digital technology and focus on #userexperience (considering users fans and sponsors alike), many different #businessmodels (regarding several facets can be conceived and implemented in original disruptive ways). Time will tell if this is going to be effective in strengthening the global popularity and appeal of F1. One thought: we should make sure that these disruptions are compatibly implemented (in terms of budget and reach) also in other #motorsport activities. We cannot forget that most of the Motorsport, that involves actual fans on a global scale, is not F1.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE IN F1 AND AUTOMOTIVE: HONDA’S OVERALL OPPORTUNITY

REALITY CHECK ENDURES

Fernando Alonso frustrations with the Honda power unit reached new peaks during last weekend Belgian GP. The situation has turned almost farcical; as Charles Bradley, Global Editor-in-Chief of motorsport.com reports: ‘Honda finds new way to frustrate Alonso.You could not make it up, as Honda found an all-new way to annoy Fernando Alonso in qualifying. Just after we marvelled at him taking Pouhon flatout, we got a familiar cry from the cockpit: “No power. No power. From Turn 11 to Turn 12. Half a second. How is this possible?” It was a rhetorical question, as we all knew who to blame. Honda’s systems got confused by Fernando not lifting at the double-left hander, and failed to deploy the 160bhp burst that it should have on the run to Fagnes. He missed out on a Q3 spot by 0.084s – even after the bold effort of teammate Stoffel Vandoorne to give him a tow.’

Regarding qualifying Alonso himself had bold statements to frame the current situation in the team as Pablo Elizalde, motorsport.com news editor reports: ‘The Spaniard looked set for a place in Q3 before he suffered a deployment issue with the power unit in his final run, meaning he lost over half a second and was therefore knocked out in Q2. Alonso, who was heard screaming “no power” on the radio, will start the race from 11th place. According to the two-time world champion’s calculations, he could have been quickest had McLaren’s not been hindered by the Honda engine’s lack of power around Spa. “We would have liked to be there but in general it was a very positive day,” said Alonso. “In Q2 until the final attempt we were 1.5 seconds off on a track where we know how much we are losing with the engine, so we would easily be in first and second positions.” He added: “The battery didn’t work and I lost six tenths from Turn 11 to 12. I was two tenths quicker than on the previous lap so I would have improved one or two more in the final sector, so we would have been in Q3 without any problems. “In the end, starting 11th with new tyres maybe gives us an extra opportunity so we’ll try to take advantage tomorrow.”

The next day, on Sunday, he has made a fantastic start reaching 7th position; it did not last long: he got passed by several cars in the straights of Spa with no need to use the DRS to pass him! Such the difference in power! While Alonso is arguably at the very top form of his career driving skills Honda keeps struggling, no matter what changes are made or announced…

IF FERNANDO WOULD HAVE MET SOICHIRO …

Possibly Alonso frustrations could be somewhat mitigated if he would have had the opportunity to meet a top innovator and industrialist within the automotive industry; able to found from the ground-up a corporation that has been defined ‘the most automotive innovative company in the world’. This industrialist famously stated: “Success, can be achieved only through repeated failure and introspection. In fact, success represents one percent of your work, which results only from the ninety-nine percent that is called failure.” The author of the quote is the late legendary founder of Honda: Soichiro Honda, a person that got along very well with Ayrton Senna during the glorious times of the McLaren-Honda partnership at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s.

Mr.Honda was a very straightforward man, always looking for improvements and better performances of its creations. Possibly he could get along really well also with Alonso since he always sought feedback geared towards improvement. Honda has been repeatedly pointed out as one of the most advanced and innovative companies in the world as pointed out by the acclaimed book “Driving Honda. Inside the World’s Most Innovative Car Company” by Jeffrey Rothfeder. Is the Honda F1 power unit developing in the spirit of Soichiro (time is running out by now) or in actuality is the company unable to express its grip on innovation and continuous improvement that characterises the cultural legacy left by its colourful founder?

HONDA’S ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE: INNOVATION DRIVEN

Honda has a unique corporate culture that has been set by principles inspired by Soichiro’s way of thinking and doing things in a pragmatic, data driven, challenge seeking and inner organisationally inclusive way. These are Eastern mindset derived principles that leverage upon several factors. Jeffrey Rothfeder has analysed and identified: ‘individual responsibility over corporate mandates; simplicity over complexity; decision making based on observed and verifiable facts, not theories or assumptions; minimalism over waste; a flat organization over an exploding flow chart; autonomous and ad hoc design, development, and manufacturing teams that are nonetheless continuously accountable to one another; perpetual change; unyielding cynicism about what is believed to be the truth; unambiguous goals for employees and suppliers, and the company’s active participation in helping them reach those metrics; freely borrowing from the past as a bridge to what Honda calls innovative discontinuity in the present’. Soichiro Honda set this way of thinking that has become part of his legacy for a company that has grown step by step into a successful corporation in which people still represent a key factor, in fact ‘Honda’s factories are the least automated among carmakers, yet Honda enjoys the highest profit margins’.

How can it be that an organisation characterised by such a distinctive culture, set to focus on decentralised problem solving and opportunity development, struggle so much on its F1 hybrid power unit project? When four years ago Ron Dennis promoted the new McLaren-Honda partnership it seemed that all was in place for a similar path (in the mid to long term) of the legendary repeated successes with Prost and Senna at the end of the 1980s and into the 1990s. This is not happening and besides possibly leading to the demise of Dennis from McLaren may actually lead Honda to eventually give-up on this currently draining F1 venture.

OUT OF SYNC WITH THE F1 CULTURE

Some key organisational aspects recognized as representing barriers to an effective development are represented by practices directly derived from the legacy principles above mentioned: a) problems need to be solved in a decentralised way but leveraging upon their very own resources in a way that they can learn from these precious experiences (and failures); b) because of the intrinsic challenges that F1 technology has, traditionally the company has considered the racing context as a relevant training field for engineers set to develop their expertise and know-how within the automotive field. This means that the input of outsiders has traditionally been avoided.

In other words some aspects that represent assets in the development of Honda automotive projects are relevant barriers within the F1 ones; and what is happening right now has also happened in the past. Honda Racing F1 as a team raced from 2006 to 2008 and had Ross Brawn as Team Manager. As he points out in his recent book ‘Total Competition’: “they did bring me in and I guess that was a recognition that they had to change their approach. I think if you looked at the contrast between what would be the typical model of a successful Formula One team and what I perceive –and I am not that experienced –is a typical model of a successful Japanese company, they couldn’t be further apart. Therefore, when you have a Japanese company owning a Formula One team, it’s difficult –it’s almost two environments at their extremes. How do you bring them together to perhaps exploit the disciplines and philosophies and strengths of a Japanese company in the somewhat chaotic environment of a Formula One team and racing?”

Eric Bouiller, McLaren team racing director, in recent weeks has pointed out similar considerations relevant to the fact that Honda still needs to fully understand, and act accordingly, upon the organisational culture present in F1. “They only need one thing, which is to understand and integrate the F1 racing culture,” Boullier told Autosport. “What I mean by that is: the way we behave in racing and Formula 1 is all driven by a calendar, by some fixed targets, fixed dates, lap time gains; we always try to go to the best solution as fast as possible. “Where a car manufacturer is running a project, you can have a few weeks delay and it’s not going to change the product, it’s not going to change the business model. “In racing, if you don’t bring your upgrade for race one, in race one you will be nowhere. “That is this racing mentality. It’s as far as going to suppliers and making sure that if they do something in one month, the next time they do it in three weeks, and from three weeks to two weeks. “We value more the time gained than the money spent. This is a different approach from the rest of the world.”

Notwithstanding Honda’s approach to continuous improvement, the corporate approach, is quite far away in its implementation from the F1 one that it is needed.

WHAT’S NEXT?

First of all it is to be noted that from a technical point of view from the beginning of the F1 project Honda has taken an unique original perspective on the power unit design and development. This does match the spirit of the company legacy but at the same time has hindered the effectiveness of the project mostly within a context in which testing restrictions and the token system have no doubt represented a barrier to the power units effective development. After several organisational restructures within the F1 operation and after opening up to external cooperation and help (at one point it was rumoured that even Mercedes came to the technical rescue of their project!) it seems a fact that the UK based engine specialist Illmor has been cooperating with Honda to solve issues more rapidly.

It appears that at the Belgian GP it has not been possible to utilise the latest project upgrade that has been rumoured as output from this cooperation. It has also been pointed out that Honda’s commitment to F1 is ever increasing with an expanded and more independent (from the corporate system) site in Brackley. These decisions have been taken also in order to become suppliers to other F1 teams (in itself a way to accelerate project development) yet initial talks with Sauber and Toro Rosso have gone nowhere and there are still question marks about the partnership with Honda. The next races are going to be no doubt crucial to the overall project, as time is running out fast; ‘too little, too late’ could be the right kind of expression in this context.

THE IMPORTANCE OF LEVERAGING ON CULTURE AWARENESS AND HONDA’S OPPORTUNITY

Organizational culture is the way to think through and do things on a daily basis, it is an action mode. It is always present whether or not it is openly affirmed. The key issue is that the more we are aware and we articulate it openly the more we can fine tune it to leverage on it effectively towards the set goals. In many ways Honda’s declared organisational culture seem to be matching in some aspects factors that are required in the fast paced, pragmatic, data driven F1 environment; in many others there is a clearly a mismatch of focus and overall objectives. Arguably a key issue here for the company is to push its legacy into the ever more complex context of business development towards ever more challenging targets; this is true both within the F1 environment as well as the automotive one that is set for a radical new technological and business model dawn.

Legacies relate to values and values to be maintained and respected within new environments need new operational ways that still pivot on them. Honda with this current F1 project has the opportunity to utilise these experiences to upgrade the overall organisational culture; this would be in the spirit of the values and legacy set by Soichiro Honda. Yet as Bouiller has pointed out, time is the crucial factor in F1 and time (the implementation of innovation to market) is increasingly the crucial factor also in automotive.

As Ross Brawn states: “In terms of innovation and technology being applicable to modern road cars, I think a good crossover is methodology. I think culture is the thing that definitely crosses over.” “the culture and ‘can do’ philosophy in Formula One is really strong. When I have worked with manufacturers, with Ford, Honda or Bridgestone, certain companies took advantage of Formula One by placing their engineers into this environment. It was part of the training of their engineers.”

Time will tell if Honda catches this learning opportunity from the F1 culture; recently it has been reported that the corporation is in need of new approaches different from the ways it has been operating until now. A very recent article published in Bloomberg with the title ‘Honda’s Solo Act Turns Risky in the Alliance-Happy Auto Industry’ should sound as an alarm bell to top management.

Given all of this dynamics it is going to be interesting to follow Honda’s organisational culture moves both in F1 and in automotive (and in both cases the time frame relates much more to the short rather than the mid term).

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

HONDA’S ORGANISATIONAL ROOTS REPRESENT A TRAP TO ITS DEVELOPMENT ?

#Honda within #automotive and #motorsport represents an interesting case study of an #organizationalculture traditionally set to not form industry #alliances in terms of research & development or commercial ones.

Takahiro Hachigo HONDA CEO Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

This kind of mindset arguably proves itself to be quite troubling within motorsport operations ( see enduring struggle with #hybrid #powerunits in #F1 with #McLaren – where the policy has been to not ask for external expertise ) or in the commercial automotive itself that is set for relevant technological and commercial changes…

To note also that #innovation has been a trademark of the company since the times of the legendary founder #SochiroHonda always a strong willed independent visionary; Honda is too stuck in deep roots to project itself effectively towards a rapidly changing present and future ? #fasttrackbook

An interesting article on the topic at this link.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

John Cooper: Jenius At Work

Great #motorsport #documentary : John Cooper: Genious At Work about #JohnCooper genius, the first person to focus on developing single-seaters rear engined. It all started with his genius by welding together two front end of the popular #FIATtopolino500 !

FIAT 500 Topolino

Cooper T51 and 52 Single seaters become rear engined!

Just brilliant! This is fully in the spirit of #innovation that we are pointing out in the book #fasttrackbook

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 6 12345...»