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P U S H T H E B U T T O
P U S H T H E B U T T O N Jaguar Land Rover’s new innovation lab InMotion bets on smart technologies and rapid prototyping to reimagine how we get around WORDS C H R I S S T O K E L - W A L K E R ILLUSTRATION J O S H U A C H E C K L E Y 60
INMOTION Jaguar Land Rover is looking beyond the car to help develop the future world of transport – and in doing so it’s also tearing up the rulebook of how large companies work. Established in April 2016, InMotion is a start-up lab and independent subsidiary within the company. It aims to bring the ‘move fast and break things’ culture characteristic of Silicon Valley start-up companies to Jaguar Land Rover, developing a number of projects that will help shape the future of mobility and smart transportation – things like car sharing, driver services, smart parking, logistics and so on. “The technology sector operates at a lightning pace, with shorter product life cycles than in the automotive industry,” explains Adrian Hallmark, Group Strategy Director at Jaguar Land Rover. “We want to push the boundaries of what we know today and continue to offer our customers great products and services that meet their needs today and tomorrow.” But first it has to settle into a new home. The InMotion lab recently completed a move from its rather cramped offices in Leamington Spa in central England, to the start-up hub of London. “Where we’ve ended up is very different to where we started,” explains Jonathan Carrier, the Head of InMotion. “But that’s the intrinsic nature of how you innovate in this space. You pay attention to what your customers are saying and doing and continue to develop your learning.” InMotion’s customer-focused model comprises two distinct phases, a Lab and an Accelerator, with 30 staff working across both. In the Lab, 150 concepts inspired by customer research or suggested by Jaguar Land Rover staff are worked on and pared down. Only the most promising make it through to the next stage, the Accelerator, where external entrepreneurial talents with proven track records enter the process to help grow these validated ideas into independent businesses. Work in this space is important because roads are getting inexorably busier around the world. For example,the average travel time for a five-mile journey through central London has increased from 20 minutes in 2012 to 30 minutes today. So InMotion has focused its first phalanx of projects on meeting customer needs in an ever-changing transportation world. One of the first experimental services aims to tackle a daily headache for parents: the school run. A ride-sharing app connects users with an inner circle of friends and family who they would trust to drive their children to and from school. Hit a button to see if anyone is free – if no one is, an on-demand driving service with vetted professional drivers can step in. Another experiment aims to solve the problem of circling around the streets looking for a parking space with the push of a button. A smart parking trial offers users in London – who account for as much as 30 per cent of all city traffic in their search for a space – with a smart valet service that will collect a user’s car, park it in a secure parking lot, and then return it to them wherever and whenever they need it. Everything from booking to collection to payment is done directly from a smartphone. “All this is at the heart of what we do at Jaguar Land Rover,” says Carrier. “That means understanding the friction and problems people face on a daily basis; understanding how you solve all those problems and develop new ideas.” That philosophy has been a Jaguar Land Rover maxim for years, but what’s changed is the pace at which the company is working. InMotion has been set up specifically to address such changing needs as quickly as possible. “The half-life of innovative ideas is very short “YOU NEED TO because the marketplace is so CONSTANTLY dynamic,” explains Carrier. “You need to constantly find a way to FIND A WAY innovate.” Layers of bureaucracy TO INNOVATE” have been stripped away; speed is of the essence, and getting ideas JONATHAN CARRIER out of the lab and into customers’ hands for testing is vital. “We take an early stage idea, work it into a concept, and very quickly apply agile and lean techniques to develop a minimum viable product,” says Carrier. That minimum viable product – an early prototype of what could become a world-changing app or system – is then handed over to real-world customers, who provide their feedback from day-to-day use. It’s a method used by Silicon Valley’s finest, including Google and Dropbox. “That feedback allows us to get real validated learning to shape, execute and then build that product further,” Carrier adds. InMotion is developing ideas in every possible category, he explains. “That’s everything from services that support the use of a car – like smarter parking – to innovative ways to access cars, including new ways to own them. And then we’re looking beyond the needs of the car itself, things like bike sharing and other forms of innovative public and private transit.” There’s one motto that drives all InMotion’s projects, Carrier says. “The common denominator is either giving people time back, or making better use of their time to allow them to travel smarter and more efficiently.” That also counts within the company, too. 61
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