On day one of corporate visits in Shanghai we visited both Ford and Continuum Innovation.
Ford is an American car company operating within China. Our experience there was led by Randy Creel. It was interesting to explore the plight of Ford to gain integration, efficiency, and growth within its Asian Pacific + Africa market. The issues that Ford in this market are the same being faced and easily overlooked by both large and small corporations. The one that was most interesting to me was “parts tourism.” This concept basically emphasizes how a product can be made in Qingdao, and needed in Shanghai, and instead of going straight to fulfill the need, it has to travel to Detroit before heading to Shanghai. Because the systems aren’t talking and mindsets throughout the different regions vary so greatly, this has called for a major need in reformation of processes with its 5 year plan. It was actually like watching our IT for Process Innovation in live action.
Mr. Creel also left us with many interesting questions to ponder in regards to China and the global economy. Can China bring in enough raw materials to close in on the economic situation that is serving solely to making the rich richer and the poor poorer? Can all things be manufactured for all people? How are things being moved? With the rapidly changing global environment, do you place Just-in-time or Just in case orders? How are things being challenged? Who maintains global order for maritime shopping?
Another great source of questions align directly with or legal and regulatory debates on the topic of Indigenous Innovation. When asked what the impact this policy was on Ford, he said it didn’t. In his industry he believes that it’s how you package, communicate, and add value to the project. An example given was of the Fiesta. They released into in the Asian market, and eventually realized that smaller company were still there design and style. However, the knock-off Fiesta was a disappointment. In the Chinese market, people want what’s next, and if you are just copying and you are losing. Randy Creel also attributes this failure to the fact that design is within the design, selling, packaging and delivery of value to customers.
Continuum Innovation is a global innovation design consultancy firm. In this experience we learned what they meant when they claimed “We design experiences that improve people’s lives, in small ways and in large, diving business innovation.” At continuum Michelle Cheng (VP) and Marcus Lui (Principal Brand Strategist), help us explore what it was truly like to be an innovative company. Continuum was actually a different perspective for all of us not only what business is, but what business could be in China. In the face of such a diverse the innovation geniuses at Continuum are learning first hand from the culture, aspirations, and values of the people in order to develop and incorporate right ideas for how people live, for real results.
At Continuum, most of the takeaways were about getting to the root of what people (not consumers) need from businesses. Continuum was about being effectively multicultural and multidisciplinary. Continuum was about asking the right questions to solve the right problems; not attacking adaptive problems with technical solutions. Henry Ford once said “If I would have asked people what they wanted they would have told me better horses.” Continuum was the poster child for all the things our marketing professor, Dr. Eroglu, wanted us to learn as business professionals – It’s all about creating value! As the organization quotes, the company’s that best design for the invisible mind, own the hearts, minds, and wallets of consumer.
As for China, Continuum Innovation see s it as both challenging and opportunistic. There is the challenge of the diverse market stages and the Four Generations living within China (Imperialist, Communist, Free Economy, and One Child). In China. The businesses are very pragmatics and tangible, but design thinking has just begun. What are the opportunities for building innovation into China’s growing economy? More importantly, how will these innovation shape China as a global leader.Share post