Tag Archives: Ford

Rethinking Electric Vehicles and the Power Grid

Ford F150 Lightning Electric Truck

Ford just announced an electric truck for the masses, the Ford F-150 Lightning, with up to 300 miles of range starting at just under $40,000.

That is about as much detail as I’m going to go into about this new electric truck from Ford, and you won’t find me comparing it to Tesla’s Cybertruck or GM’s electric Hummer. I’ll leave that that to the gearheads.

The purpose for today’s article on Human-Centered Change™ and Innovation is not to compare electric truck specifications, but instead to highlight a somewhat buried feature of the new Ford F-150 Lightning Electric Truck:

Ford is providing an 80-amp home charging station that completely charges the truck in eight hours, or allows buyers to easily use the truck to power their entire home for around three days in the event of an electricity outage.

Sometimes what seems like a minor benefit outside the typical product feature set actually has the potential to shift mindsets and customer expectations. AND, it leads to a series of questions:

Have you spent $10,000-20,000 on a Tesla Powerwall battery backup system for your house?

Or thousands of dollars on a more traditional partial home generator?

Have you ever thought about using your car or truck to power your house?

What if this were to become a common expectation of consumers of electric vehicles?

If this became a key differentiator between internal combustion and electric vehicles, might this help to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles in the United States and elsewhere?

And what might the implications be for utilities and the power grid?

Stay tuned! It will be interesting to monitor how this situation develops and whether other electric vehicle manufacturers modify their marketing strategies, leading to one final question:

Innovation or not?

Image credit: yahoo

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Real-World Applications of Design Thinking

Real-World Applications of Design Thinking

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

Design thinking is an effective problem-solving methodology that emphasizes empathy, experimentation, and iteration to devise innovative solutions to complex challenges. Grounded in placing human at the center of solution ideation, design thinking diverges from traditional problem-solving approaches, making it an increasingly appealing method for many businesses. To illustrate this powerful approach, let’s delve into two compelling case studies where design thinking drastically redefined and optimized entire operation chains.

Case Study 1: Ford Motor Company

Until 2005, Ford was on a path of decline; dwindling market share, faced with global efforts to reduce carbon footprints, and the growing need for smarter cars, they had to reassess their strategy. The new CEO, Alan Mulally, proposed a shift from the orthodox production-focused approach to a consumer-centric perspective – utilizing design thinking as the vehicle to drive this transformation.

Rather than staying confined in boardrooms, cross-functional teams spent time with customers to understand their driving experiences, needs, and motives. The teams immersed themselves into the users’ world to identify routine problems overlooked in traditional product development processes.

Understanding user requirements, Ford developed the ‘SYNC’ technology, allowing drivers to make hands-free telephone calls and control music and other functions with simple voice commands. Immediately, Ford cars transformed from mere transportation means to personalized, digital experiences.

This move revived Ford’s dwindling market fortunes, with the company recording a profit of $6.6 billion in 2010, the highest in more than a decade and proof that, indeed, design thinking has real-world applications that can completely turn around an enterprise’s fortunes.

Case Study 2: Kaiser Permanente

A healthcare giant in the US, Kaiser Permanente (KP), provided medical services focusing primarily on efficiencies and cost savings. But the team at KP recognized a need to shift their focus from solely being operationally efficient to also improving the patient experience.

Design thinking came into play, and nurses across various KP hospitals were equipped with stopwatches and spreadsheets to note time spent on various activities. The data painted a clear picture – nurses spent a considerable amount of time not with the patients but at computer stations recording data. A nurse shift change, which ideally should take only a few minutes, took up to 40 minutes, reducing efficiency and satisfaction for both nurse and patient.

In response, KP implemented a radical solution, an innovative ‘nurse knowledge exchange’ at the patients’ bedside. Not only did this change increase face-to-face interaction between nurses and patients, but the problem of documentation was also solved in a more consumer-aligned manner. With this change, KP’s satisfaction score improved by up to 15%.


Both Ford and Kaiser Permanente attributed their operational improvements to design thinking methodology. The case studies provide a compelling argument that design thinking, when internalized as a part of an organization’s culture, has the potential to enhance overall performance drastically.

Design thinking methodology reminds us that solutions should be designed around people, not processes. By understanding and empathizing with end-users, businesses can create innovative solutions that not only solve the problem but improve the overall user experience. With the help of design thinking, new horizons of innovation and problem-solving could be on the horizon for any industry willing to embrace it.

Bottom line: Futurology is not fortune telling. Futurists use a scientific approach to create their deliverables, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to engage in futurology themselves.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Dumping Facebook Ads the Obvious Choice for GM

Dumping Facebook Ads the Obvious Choice for GMThe twittersphere erupted with news of GM’s announcement that it was refusing to pay for 2013 Super Bowl advertisements and $10 Million worth of advertising on Facebook.

Much of the popular press and self-proclaimed social media experts are jumping on the bandwagon and calling GM “idiots” for ending their advertising of Facebook and talking about how GM “doesn’t get” social media. If you listen to the amount of noise out there you would think that there was consensus that GM was wrong in making these moves.

I disagree. GM is making the right move.

Companies need to re-think how they spend money on marketing and advertising to make money in the showroom. Traditional advertising is becoming more expensive all the time and as the saying goes “I know I’m wasting half of the money I spend on advertising, only I don’t know which half.” The key here is that with advertising you pay to blast everyone that sees it with a single message – including people who just bought what you sell and those who will never buy what you sell just to hit the people who are considering a purchase of what you sell. As a result it is expensive and nearly impossible to place the right message with the right people at the time (and only those people). So I am not surprised at all that GM is re-evaluating its advertising spend, possibly investing more (not less) in the future in social media. Done well, you can be more impactful with pull marketing and social media than you can with push marketing and advertising.

So, personally it seems odd to me that so-called social media experts are in favor of a company spending money advertising on social networks. Wouldn’t it be smarter for them to advocate that GM spend money on build an interactive, engagement-driving social media campaign instead of spending money on advertising?

Something like the Chevy Game Time App?

Wait a minute, did the same company that doesn’t “get social media” launch an app built by hometown company – Detroit Labs – before Super Bowl 2012 that rocketed into the Top 10 free apps for the iPhone on Apple’s App Store (a top 10 that included Facebook and Instagram)?

“For all intents and purposes, all of the expectations that we had and that GM had were far exceeded… in a positive way!”

– Henry Balanon, Detroit Labs Co-Founder


First let’s be clear. Social networks and social media are two separate things, but people talk about them as is if they were one thing.

A social network is a place where people connect online and interact, whereas social media is content that is created to be shared. But, many so-called social media experts confuse the two, and confuse advertising with social media too. Advertising on a social network is not a social media strategy – it’s still advertising. Identifying the content that you should place on your Facebook page or other digital destination and creating a reason for people to tell others that they should come to that digital destination, well that’s a social media strategy.

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Now, I must disclose that I specialize in helping companies creating pull marketing strategies to drive an increase in inbound sales leads by researching the customer purchasing journey online and then helping them attract and engage customers, partners, or employees by placing the right content in the right places at the right time. Part of this is achieved by using my proprietary single content input, multiple content output methodology and yes, that sometimes includes using social media. But social media is a tool not a religion, and it needs to be used only when appropriate.

I think GM made the right call in ceasing to advertise on the Super Bowl and Facebook and here’s why:

  1. Super Bowl advertisements are expensive and for GM much of the cost is allocated against people who will probably NEVER buy a GM car
  2. Facebook advertising is not very prominent or engaging
  3. Their Chevy Game Time App experience should have given GM an idea that next year they can drive huge engagement during the Super Bowl (without advertising)

If GM is so clueless at social media, then why does the Facebook page for Chevrolet look so much better than the Facebook page for Ford or Toyota or Dodge. Honda is the only one I looked at amongst the car companies that had a more social feel at first glance, oh and Honda has the most likes of these companies too – go figure. But the engagement of people on Facebook around these brands is tiny in comparison to BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Harley-Davidson – both in terms of the numbers of likes and the number of people talking about them.

So, yes GM still has things to learn about engaging on social media (and about building better products too), but then so does every company. Social media and pull marketing are two new tools in the toolbox for every CMO, brand manager, and product marketer, but as long as we all continue to instrument for learning, as marketers we will continue to get better at utilizing these new tools to attract, engage, and retain the people who will love our products and services as much as we do.

Keep innovating!

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