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INNOVATION AND THE TRL MODEL. THE YCOM INNOVATION ACCELERATION CASE STUDY

Ycom is a Motorsport Industry company focusing on the entire innovation process relevant to Motorsport, automotive and also other industries. In particular, within the Technology Readiness Level (TRL)

the company is able to accelerate the 4 to 7 phases. The case study featured in the book articulates the entire process through interviews with Ycom owners Nicola Scimeca and Mario Saccone.

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International Management Conference In London. Introducing Motorsport as an inspiring and practical topic!

Motorsport: driving innovation and industry diversification

New knowledge development and knowledge sharing

presented at the International Academy of Management and Business’s Conference

On Friday September 28th at Regent’s University LONDON

London presentation 1

By

                                       Riccardo Paterni (Entrepreneur at Synergy Pathways) – presenter                                                                             
Dr Tim Angus (Honorary Research Fellow, Centre for Business in Society, Coventry University)

with Gabriele Testi (Motorsport journalist)

Topic Abstract:

Motorsport is not simply a sport involving racing cars, it is a complex and far reaching industry generating many billions of US dollars of global turnover each year. It has deep historical roots that go back to the very beginning of the automotive industry,

Motorsport involves a wide international network of manufactures, related components sup- pliers, research & development activities, related paying fans (and in most cases paying dri- vers) and sponsors. These invest and leverage the global media system that for some of the championships has a strong global reach (for example Formula 1 Grand Prix are the most glo- bally followed sport taking second place only to the Soccer World Cups and the Olympics). Mo- torsport has a dimension that spreads from the local to the global in which many global automo- tive manufacturers are involved. It has a value chain that involves: constructors, participants, events, and the distribution and consumption of the sport. The total global yearly turnover for Motorsport as an industry is well above USD 50 billions (Henry et al, 2007).

Motorsports integrated complexities are what makes it a unique business ecosystem which is similar in many respects to many other business ecosystems that might be encountered within various economic fields; such complexities are generated by many variables spanning techno- logical aspects to regulation, the management of high levels of dynamic know-how and the shaping-up, development and management of often far reaching business models.Motorsport requires, by default, an extremely dynamic constantly changing environment requiring a consistent focus on efficiency (relevant to financial, technological, infrastructural, organizational and highly skilled human resources management) and, at the same time, a marked and relentless focus on on-racing-track and commercial performance.

All of these characteristics make the Motorsport ecosystem a solid, concrete and at the same time continuously evolving laboratory of innovation: a laboratory in which innovation is identified and implemented in very pragmatic terms, for example, in terms of novel effective solutions to problems (racing tracks are nothing if not constant active practical and conceptual laboratories for these problems), novel products and services that are welcomed by markets. Innovation in motorsport goes well beyond the realm of technological innovation into innovation in knowledge generation, knowledge-transfer and new business models related to new industrial and commercial realities. Industry diversification, rooted in this new knowledge production , is a natural offspring of these industrial dynamics.

An additional characteristic that feeds this overall system, is the presence of specific motorsport industrial clusters (geographically comprised socio-economic networks that develop and implement new knowledge) that have been characterizing parts of the industry since its beginning and are still present today (e.g. the UK’s ‘Motorsport Valley and Italy’s ‘Motor Valley’). Motorsport and its related industrial and research & development activities has become a prime example of high level knowledge development ready to be shared among other applications and industries. We will present case studies (Costruzioni Meccaniche Novicrom, Ycom and McLaren Applied Technologies) that represent this concept from a knowledge perspective generating far reaching business development activities by leveraging upon the constant in- novation present within motorsport.

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This way McLaren and Williams are renovating the biomedical industry

These are the ways in which McLaren Advanced Technologies and Williams Engineering are renovating the biomedical industry by utilising F1 know-how. The journalist Gabriele Testi wrote this article for the Italian Edition of motorsport.com , Riccardo Paterni contributed to write it. These topics will be presented an elaborated in the book.

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Article (in Italian) Così McLaren e Williams stanno contribuendo a rinnovare l’industria biomedicale

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On innovation and bringing new life to Motorsport; up for debate

The September 2016 issue of Motorsport magazine features the 50th anniversary of the legendary CAN-AM series, these were the times when actual multifaceted, original innovation developed pushed forward by unique legendary manufacturers because:

“Chaparral, Lola, McLaren, Porsche, Shadow… such marques gave us the big, bellowing, basically unlimited Can-Am sports-racers of 1966-1974. These mighty machines may be blazing into their golden anniversary years now, but they might well survive in the hearts of enthusiasts forever.

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Why? Because they recall something now nearly extinct in motor racing: freedom of design.

North America’s original Canadian-American Challenge Cup Series imposed amazingly minimal rules and restrictions, at least at the outset. The two primary requirements were bodywork covering the tyres and cockpits just wide enough to accommodate an intrepid passenger, so the vehicles could be described as sports cars. Safety standards also had to be met, but otherwise a creative Can-Am mind was pretty much free to run mad.”

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Will getting back to this revive the current struggling top Motorsport scene? Is it actually still possible to do it? What would it entail?

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Is the Global Innovation Index actually measuring innovation?

The report relevant to the 2015 Global Index Innovation has been recently published and, as always, it is quite revealing of human, societal and economic trends that ease and stimulate the expression of new ideas and solutions freeing-up expressions of creativity and at the same time reducing or eliminating barriers to such expression.

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There overall index is generated by innovation input factors and innovation output ones. They spread throughout an entire array of factors that directly or indirectly have the power to boost or restrain that expression of creativity.

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First of all, in my opinion, it needs to be pointed out that what this index measures does not fully represent what concrete innovation is in itself (an expression of creativity that solves problems effectively and/or finds affirmation on markets); rather it seem to focus on identifying an overall ecosystem that fosters the conception and development of creativity almost as an end in itself. This is a perspective that in my opinion requires further debate involving people that in actual practical terms are on the frontline to solve problems, generate effective business opportunities and/or take advantage at best of them.

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Leveraging on Motorsport dynamics to better understand the ones of business today

When we talk about speed, change and complexities of business nowadays we are often puzzled by the many factors that affect the survival and development of small, midsize and large organisations. Technology, markets, finance, regulatory constraints, all of them represent at the same time challenges and opportunities for growth.

Motorsport, by its very nature, increasingly represents a powerful concentration and integrated mix of all of these aspects and variables: it requires a keen attention to how resources are managed in an effective and efficient way within constantly changing constraints. Motorsport is also a proper industry which turnover has been marking and marks billions of euros across the globe. In addition its research & development has a direct influence on many fields that go well beyond the intuitive one of the automotive: aerospace, energy, defence, medical, high-tech consumer goods represent additional sectors in which the applied research driven by companies directly related to Formula 1 such as McLaren Applied Technologies or Williams Advanced Engineering have an increasingly relevant influence.

Dr.Tim Angus, from University of Coventry, presenting at the University of Pisa International MBA

Dr.Tim Angus, from University of Coventry, presenting at the University of Pisa International MBA

Recently at the University of Pisa International MBA these aspects have been pointed out with a particular focus on the Motor Valley in the United Kingdom which represents a clustered and integrated source for such developing activities. I have invited Dr.Tim Angus, from the University of Covetry, to make a presentation on such topic and it has caught the attention of the MBA participants and Italian organisations alike operating in the field and related one. At this link an article from Motorsport.com reporting on such presentation (in Italian).

The book goes in depth on all of this aspects relating them to the way they contribute to generate innovation within such an array of economic fields.

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Innovation steering the Road to Indy program

Another historic Italian manufacturer of racing cars (Tatuus) has made strides in the USA within the unique drivers development path Road To Indy program (that will be featured in the book through interviews with the program management regarding innovations that characterise the identity of the program itself).

Tatuus USF-17

Tatuus USF-17

Recently the Tatuus USF-17 has been presented . Beginning in 2017 the chassis (powered by a Mazda engine) will be the one utilised by the USF 2000 program (part of the Road to Indy one) and it is based on the manufacturer’s European F4 series. We are looking forward to meet  Tatuus’ CEO, Gianfranco De Bellis to learn more about the specifics of the incremental innovation concepts that brought about the implementation of this ambitious and relevant junior formula program within the characteristics requested by the US organisers. The next top USA Formula 1 driver might come straight from this path.

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Innovation in automotive sustainability technology inspired by a toy!

A recent article published by Popular Mechanics magazine “5 Things to know about making electric car batteries better”  features a very interesting interview with a researcher and engineer which work on improving electric cars batteries was inspired by observing the functional dynamics of a remotely controlled toy.

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This is a classic example of how an idea inspired by observing a totally different context and even a much simpler one (toys) can lead to the concrete improvement of a sophisticated technology with an impact of progress that is going to be relevant not only for mobile sustainability but also for many other fields in which rechargeable batteries are utilised. Once again the impact of Research & Development in automotive and Motorsport is far reaching in many different directions. This represent one of the key aspects articulated by the book.

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Is innovation always incremental?

A recent study published on Organizational Science and pointed out on a Fast Company article by the title “Unexpected lessons about innovation from Formula One teams” stresses that even the fast paced changing Formula One world shows that effective innovation is the one implemented in an incremental way.

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There are many factors that influence directly innovation in Formula One: regulations, technologies, financials boundaries, yet the drive to performance needs to be focused and streamlined and a study points out that the incremental application of original know-how is the most effective one. When we think about innovation (products or services solving problems or being effectively embraced by markets) we need to observe that tracing back its roots we realise that truly it is always an incremental process, a process that at times can be accelerated by technologies or fast developing know-how, yet central key roots remain set in place. The book argues and investigates this issues in depth under several points of view.

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The Italian Motor Valley & the roots of innovative mobile sustainability. Onda Solare: a racing laboratory

‘Onda Solare’ is the Italian team competing on sustainable energies endurance racing  challenges across the globe since 2005. Unique technologies, coming from several fields, are integrated to develop innovative set to become landmarks for developing mobile sustainability solutions . The project involves original ideas coming from the talent, skills and passion of entrepreneurs integrated by University of Bologna research & development.

Onda Solare getting ready to compete in the recent solar challenge in Atacama Desert, Chile

Onda Solare getting ready to compete in the recent solar challenge in Atacama Desert, Chile

The project will be featured in the book through in depth interviews of the people that developed and are developing it from perspectives rooted in innovation.

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