Yesterday, I posted a working view on dimensions and issues that affect car performance and car enjoyment. Today, I’m sharing with you the rest of the slide, the “Near Future” items.
It’s a working view, and certainly a very high level one. Hopefully, however, it will help you shape yours – via curiosity, reinforcement, or even disagreement – about how the car might evolve. As you can see, many items are driven by software, and several may be enabled by modularity (the cabin, maintenance, upgrade-ability advances). You can be sure that these elements are the focus of discussion at Tesla, Google, and Apple, as they develop their next-generation vehicles.
Now, for simplicity, this particular view is focused on ten dimensions. Most of them are related to the physical product. But there are many more ways to think about cars: some very fundamental aspects (e.g., jobs to be done), related steps (production system, customization, financing, charging at home and away, etc.), and specific high-value technologies (driver assistance, battery, quick charger, sensors, machine learning, security, just to name a few). The point, then, is that there are actually many ways to re-think the car, its purpose, context, and systems, and many dimensions to competition. The view above is just a device-centric start. I might explore some of the additional elements in the future.
Critically, it’s important to remember that no single car or car maker will advance in all areas. The effective product, design, and engineering leaders will focus on the most impactful elements and prioritize those. The outcome will depend on the customer they want to serve, the company’s capabilities and aspirations, competitor offerings, and the time available. (And – critically – on the leaders’ own sensibilities and the dynamics inside the organization.)
Still, it’s *very useful* to develop a rich super-set of things one *could* improve upon, comprised of this list and the other items I touched on. That sort of situational awareness helps you prioritize, and have confidence in your priorities, about where to direct R&D, product definition, design, and marketing. It helps you to shape the product you ship and its future generations.
So, back to cars, then. There are plenty of ways to make cars better. Who will be first? Who will be boldest? Who will be best? Who will make the transition from today’s car to tomorrow’s. And who might just skip most of that transition altogether? It’s 2015 – it feels like the future – but the journey to re-invent the car has just started.