Design Thinking has found a home and a champion in a rather unlikely place…a car company that most people tend to think of as boring.
Jim Cramer was interviewing Ford Motor Company’s president tonight, when all the talk about millennials, mobility, and design thinking caught my attention.
Mark Fields not only seemed passionate on the topic, but he gave the impression that he was an involved champion of that vision.
Central to Fields’ plan is an emphasis on mobility. To that end, there’s a department staffed by mostly millennials, working away to engineer vehicles that anticipate future driving needs.
Car buying decisions are getting more and more influenced by products that enable them to stay connected, even as other gadgets enhance the driving experience. Employing the people who drive those decisions would only make sense.
Design for the Future
One aspect in their embrace of design thinking is to contemplate as many paths as possible, before settling on a solution. Some of those possibilities include a day in the future where some governments may decide to restrict how many cars can be on the road. Therefore, what kind of impact would this have on sales residuals? How do they design cars that cater more to the sharing economy, than to individual tastes.
The Sharing Economy
When asked if Ford would follow GM’s lead to embrace the sharing economy, he left it open-ended. GM is partnering with Lyft in order to start a new concept in car rentals. Money spent on Lyft rides would defray the cost of renting from this joint car rental service.
Maybe Ford doesn’t currently have designs on the likes of Uber, but it behooves them to try and get in the game somehow.
Even as Mr. Fields spoke about what the future holds, Cramer wanted to know if anything caught them off-guard in the recent past. As the saying goes, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.” The company certainly had some unexpected changes, but they consider themselves on sure footing.