13 July 2018
Recently we have seen more scenarios where a new technology is introduced cross-industry. EV (Electric Vehicle) is one of the prime examples, which is applied both in the Energy and Automotive sectors. However, it is not always easy to achieve such collaborations.
As EV is increasing in the UK, I started hearing concerns:- Can the completely different industries such as Automotive and Energy industries work well together? On the other hand, I have identified some attempts to accelerate innovation by reducing industrial boundaries and silo mentalities. As one of the examples, I would like to highlight an EV project led by the UK government.
Over the last few years, I have attended EV related seminars and workshops hosted by the UK government and lately government officials both from Energy and Automotive industries have attended such events. I can see the UK government’s efforts to break through the sector boundary.
I witnessed further progress when I attended the “Electric Vehicles Towards an Excellent User Experience ” seminar held at Coventry on the 7th June.
This project is run by the UK government organizations from four different sectors: - Transport System Catapult, Energy Systems Catapult, Future Cities Catapult, and High Value Manufacturing Catapult. (“Catapults” have been set up by the UK government since 2010 and support the process of developing innovative and advanced ideas and research, moving them into a commercial stage. Currently there are Catapults in 11 different sectors.)
Another UK government organization, Innovate UK, also plays a key role in the project.
The major objective of the project is to establish EV infrastructure and social systems which are beneficial for all users. Technology development and introduction should not be for the sake of technologies but should be determined based on user experience.
The project will be carried out in the process of: - Stimulating visions → Designing innovation interventions → Convening the supply chain.
In this seminar, the project team tried to get open views and opinion from attendees on this collaborative project.
EV is said to be once in a 100-year revolution and influences the society from various angles. In that sense, it is vital to discuss this opportunity widely and develop and apply relevant technologies which are relevant and useful to the user.
I am very impressed with the UK government trying to take the lead.
In the meantime, I personally expect following challenges: -
＊How can we extend this cross-sector collaboration to industry.
＊How can we manage different levels of expectation between government – industry – academia.
(i.e. A university’s R&D might require 5-10 year, whilst a company may want to achieve ROI in one year, etc.)
＊Would the result of this project truly reflect user experience and match with the actual market needs?
I will keep following up this project.