Innovation on the move

Few industries face as much disruptive upheavals as the mobility sector, which is why it is fertile soil for excellent innovation communications.

The automotive industry will see disruptive changes in the next 10 years. But with huge opportunities, comes new challenges. Some experts envision future mobility markets will be dominated by internet giants rather than traditional car manufacturers. As a subsidiary of Daimler AG, moovel Group will take on the challenge to prove the contrary.

(Image: Moovel)

moovel Group works in the field of modern urban mobility to enhance the quality of modern life. With this approach, it has launched three mobility concepts: car2go, car2go black and moovel.

Today, car2go is the largest car sharing company with more than one million members in Europe and in North America. And, with the mobility platform Move Forward, we want to revolutionise the world of mobility once again.   

As technology continues to advance, we see companies collaborating more and more with external parties to develop breakthrough innovations, thereby intensifying consumer attraction to its latest features, designs and new systems.

Innovation has become a key component to a business’s corporate DNA. It is vital that systems are put in place to gather and evaluate the type of innovative ideas at hand. For some businesses, systems have been in place, and been proven valuable for several years. In 2007, Daimler AG established the Business Innovation Unit, the company’s innovation lab for ideas that reach beyond the company’s core business of automotive manufacturing.

It was there in 2008 that the web-based Business Innovation Community collaboration tool was launched - a platform that empowers employees all over the world to contribute, discuss and develop their ideas on concepts that could be incorporated within Daimler’s umbrella of products and services. Since then, the Community has fostered a passionate collaboration among 50,000 employees across areas within the company worldwide. Though the Community is only available internally, there are plans to reach out to external communities and individuals.

Additionally, we’re seeing a trend of “risk and reward,” in which companies are eager to give new concepts the chance to operate as a start-up. This creates more and more new business cases, and it is in the hands of the consumers to decide whether these ventures “tick” with their social thought process and digital lifestyle. 

Considering these trends, it is nevertheless a communicator’s task to support and prepare a well-defined strategy and messaging for an impactful and seamless integration within the innovation market.

A step beyond traditional press relations and social media

While traditional media, as well as traditional public relations are still very important, we see the distribution of its stories developing in different ways via digital platforms, such as YouTube and Twitter. It is absolutely essential that communicators understand how to harness and manage these platforms, incorporate it within their strategic communications framework and join the conversation.

Beyond this, it leaves communications professionals endless opportunities to develop their own conversation within the innovation market as it pertains to their business. moovel Group recently developed Move Forward (, an online platform targeted to a global, English-speaking audience. Move Forward seeks to connect breakthrough innovators who are eager to discuss and develop solutions for mobility, and pave the way of its future.

Focusing on push-and-pull communications

Developments and ideas that touch our business can heavily influence how products, markets, as well as general lifestyle and attitude will evolve – a potential key to success. The management of moovel Group understood the existing online dialogue rapidly moving around the future of mobility, but also understood that the conversation, though extremely unique, was dissected among various areas of the web. To streamline the conversations, and help propel them forward, Move Forward was created with three specific communication formats:

  • Corporate strategic communication
  • An e-magazine with experts around the world sharing their ideas and findings
  • And crowd innovation to drive global innovative discussion – from thoughts and ideas to concrete business cases or services.

Through push-and-pull-communications, we are pushing forth the ‘magazine’ and strategy communications, leaving room to pull in crowd innovation, and further develop the conversation. This way, company goals and visions are able to be openly communicated, discussed and evaluated. Open dialogue and transparency are two key factors for business success within the digital world, and it’s only fitting that corporate communications takes the reigns to facilitate the dialogue and provide that transparency.

Move Forward to foster a dialogue with experts worldwide

 As Move Forward aims to develop and leverage dialogue among a global audience, moovel Group developed three specific categories to define the conversation around the future of mobility:

  1. Disruptive Technology focuses on how technical developments will influence new mobility options
  2. Mobility and Living changes to our lifestyle through new mobility
  3. Legal Framework highlights new regulations required to make new concepts possible.

As the web creates a larger transparency, communicating the company strategy online is a critical step, in which consistent development of multimedia content packages is necessary to illustrate the strategic aspects and potential developments of emerging trends and technologies - such as what autonomous driving means to us as human beings, what impact it will have on our lives, what are the possible business cases and what time frame are we looking at.

However, there are further demands of a digital environment that challenge corporate communications to broaden their efforts - it is not just about the message you deliver, but how the message is delivered. User experience and usability play a large role, which manifests itself in a mobile and tablet-friendly design that is responsive to how the user consumes content.

Involve stakeholders in creating the message

This is something, as far as we know, nobody has ever tried before. That is not to say that this is the only way, but it surely is an experiment to test the boundaries and forecast new opportunities that the internet offers corporate communications, incorporating multimedia communications, introducing new communication collaboration and potential variables.

There is huge potential in opening the conversation and tapping into the ideas and networks of journalists, bloggers, experts, and stakeholders in all areas of expertise, and inviting them to be part of our business development.

When it comes to the future of mobility there are many unanswered questions. Established businesses, as well as consumers are navigating through what could lie ahead, and what it will mean to move from Point A to Point B. As a company who focuses on creating products specifically toward this, we must create a global channel where stakeholders can be tuned in to ask questions and discuss, spark inspiration, and tap ideas. After all, they are a key component to the global transportation infrastructure, and it is our responsibility to both involve them and evolve with them.

Michael Kuhn

Michael Kuhn is responsible for communications and brand management at moovel Group, a subsidiary of Daimler AG. Before taking up this position in January 2013, he worked in Daimler’s lab for innovative business models from 2007 to 2012. As a senior manager in the Business Innovation unit he developed the moovel brand, led the ad-hoc ridesharing pilot project car2gether and was responsible for the BI Community, one of the first web-based innovation and collaboration tools in the industry. Before joining BI in October 2007, he held various positions within Daimler’s corporate communications unit.