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Volkswagen We Experience

Innovative mobility services from Volkswagen, in partnership with IBM 

Today, cars have to do more than just drive. They should think, entertain and support everyday life. And these new mobility needs require new products. Volkswagen and IBM have partnered to jointly develop personalised, digital mobility services – using agile methods in interdisciplinary teams, at Aperto's Berlin office. 

We Experience (WeX) is the first joint service within the Volkswagen We digital ecosystem. By intelligently  combining environmental, vehicle and customer data, it is able to recommend actions to the driver  in the right place – and at the right time. We Experience will be integrated as an SDK into existing apps and works with IBM Watson's Artificial Intelligence. This ensures that users receive personally relevant and individualised recommendations.  

What is new about the project and the partnership between Volkswagen and IBM, is primarily the type of collaboration – agile according to Scrum methodology, working in equal, interdisciplinary teams at a single location and at high speed. The agency offices of the IBM subsidiary Aperto in the heart of Berlin were chosen as the location. The IBM Automotive Team was expanded to include Aperto experts in business design, UX/UI, visual design and front- and backend development. The work is done according to the agency's lean business innovation processes.

Car manufacturers become mobility service providers

Today, the automotive industry is facing one of the biggest changes in its history. Megatrends such as electromobility, autonomous driving and the increasing networking and digitisation of vehicles not only demand new skills, but also open up completely new business areas. The industry is faced with successful competition, characterized by new platform models, agile working methods and rapid product cycles.

An innovation model for data-based businesses and user-centric services

With the Garage Factory model, IBM and Aperto offer a framework for the development of digital products. It extends from the initial idea to its successful use by the customer. The Volkswagen WeX project is based on this two-stage innovation model. The first part of the product development takes place in the ‘Garage’ – from brainstorming to the first test of the MVP in the market. The Garage phase is characterised by open collaboration between vehicle manufacturers and the digital partners. Co-creation and co-location are the key words here: Volkswagen, IBM and Aperto employees sit together at one location and work on new ideas in interdisciplinary, cross-company teams.

In the second phase, the ‘Factory’, the product is scaled following the first market launch. The original Garage team is expanded to include more teams with the same structure. In addition to scaling the product development capacity, marketing technique Growth Hacking is used. Several different marketing channels are used to optimally fuel product growth.

Innovate like a start-up, scale like an enterprise

The Garage Factory model combines the speed, agility and innovation of a start-up with the scalability and implementation excellence of a large enterprise. It provides a framework to develop innovations in the automotive industry and put them on the road. It can be applied to various innovative services or products, but is usually based on the exponential potential of platform business models. 

Mixed staffing not only achieves a high degree of knowledge exchange, actionability and motivation, but also makes an important contribution to organizational learning, as well as to an open culture and sustainable innovative strength of the participating companies.

Methods for lean product development

Design Thinking

With IBM Design Thinking, one has access to a globally proven set of methods, applicable to any industry. It gives users a deeper understanding that enables them to develop the challenges and opportunities of a product in the context of possible usage scenarios.

Business Design

Business Design analyses the capabilities and opportunities of a company that raise its business potential. From the very beginning, approaches for potential business scenarios and possible metrics are developed. These allow assessment of the development process and the maturity level of an idea. They form the basis of hypotheses related to potential service offerings and user tests.

Interdisiplinary, agile teams

The design thinking- and business design-based approaches are translated by multidisciplinary, agile teams into concrete product and service concepts. The continuous interaction with stakeholders is crucial. A high degree of actionability and motivation is achieved through the mix of client-side members and contractors within teams. This also contributes to overall organisational learning and sustainable innovation for the company.

Partnerships

Only a few ideas actually culminate in a product. It is crucial to ensure an influx of ideas during the ideation phase. Not only internal, but also external creative potentials are systematically introduced into the innovation process through the integration of partners. The focus on quantity ultimately serves to build up an innovation portfolio: an instrument for scattering innovation risks within process.

Validated learning, continuous optimisation

Once ideas have taken shape – from the digital prototypes to the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) – a cycle of testing with real users and product optimisation begins. This lasts until either a growth path is identified or the approach is rejected. Iterative testing with users enables fast decisions and high throughput times.

Plattform Design Toolkit

The exponential innovation potential no longer lies in the individual product, but in multifaceted, platform-based business models. Whoever wants to develop such a model must have a deep understanding of all platform actors. The Platform Design Toolkit, provides a methodology that enables the integration of all findings into a holistic platform design.

It‘s not a project, it‘s a venture!

Adriano Bezerra-Delaunay

Executive Director - Lean Business Innovation (Aperto)

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Kontakt

Aperto – An IBM Company
Adriano Bezerra-Delaunay, Executive Director Lean Business Innovation
Chausseestraße 5
10117 Berlin
Germany
+49 30 283921-0
adriano.delaunay@aperto.com