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mo·bil·i·ty: (noun) the ability to move or be moved freely and easily – Oxford dictionary.
No doubt about it: the future of mobility is fueled by evolution and innovation, targeted at ameliorating it and, as a result, creating an abundance of opportunities. A lot of players are in the mobility game: auto-makers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, consulting and technology firms, military organizations, governments, cities, the list goes on. A modern-day gold rush.
Important and agreed upon mobility trends such as alternative vehicle ownership models, connected vehicles, autonomous driving and electrification are powered by unprecedented advances in and access to technology. Aware of the massiveness of changes to come, everyone in the industry, including me is thinking about alternative business models. Everything as a service, shall we?!
How we bring products and services to market is highly dependent on our ability to integrate them with transportation initiatives and infrastructure, to influence regulations and policies, and to do so safely and with respect for the planet.
Simply said, but not so simple. In fact, creating the future of mobility is quite complex. Everything is interconnected, yet globally, no two places are alike.
In a 2016 report, McKinsey excels at summarizing the complexity of mobility innovation and at offering an integration approach “where trends in related areas reinforce one another”. The report proposes three mobility models to address the different needs of the world’s urban centers. Brilliant read.
The report also hints at what I believe the future of mobility is about… “The individual traveler is at the heart of this evolution, so consumers will need to be open to adopting new technologies and services.”
While many are advocating for a customer-centric approach to innovation and ideation, I can’t help but wonder: “Are we doing enough?”
Guerilla research I conducted in preparation for writing this article bubbled up two findings:
- Outside the industry, the term “mobility” means a lot of different things to different people
- Formal research publications about consumers attitudes about “mobility” are not widely available…
Research conducted by DHM Reseach, a Portland, Oregon firm in a June 2018 report to the Mileage-Based User Fee Association National Conference in Washington, DC shows that transportation does not make the top 10 list of most important issues for surveyed Americans…
My research could not uncover one executive, one marketer, one consultant that isn’t working on figuring out a hyperconnected omni-channel approach to serve stakeholders in this customer experience era…
Consumers continuously and routinely list buying a car, something we have been doing for more than 100 years, as the “worst shopping experience imaginable”…
Clearly, we aren’t doing enough.
We. Can. Do. Better. Globally.
By focusing on human factors that bring us more together than separate us.
By honing in on what makes us more alike than different.
By converging on themes that unite us as a global population.
We all hate being stuck in traffic.
We all want to get home from work for dinner with our loved ones faster.
We all want to get our goods delivered immediately.
We all want to feel celebrated as individuals.
We all want access to safe, reliable, affordable, efficient, accessible and clean mobility solutions.
I believe it is by involving end-consumers, customers at the very heart of the mobility revolution that we define a truly meaningful future for mobility.
In a nutshell, here’s my vision for how.
Customers First: People are people
But really. And always. Ask and listen. Put the consumer at the center of the everything. Invest in and employ consumer-centric innovation methodologies like design thinking, consumer data analysis and insights, consumer research and development, surveys, focus groups and user research, to name a few. Use these insights to influence the creation of new mobility products and services.
Think Global: We are more alike than different
Create a global vision that leads to solutions to the biggest problems for the largest population of customers possible. Think about the entire world: it’s time to break down geography silos. Go big.
Do it with Partners: We are all in this together
To deliver on the global vision, create alliances and partnerships between all players. While we may not always agree on tactics, we are all trying to solve the same problems. And when delivering solutions that really address customer needs, there will be plenty of revenue to go around.
Start Now: Nobody wants to wait
Go for it. Work the plan with discipline. Create connection with customers with thoughtful experiences.
Communicate: Everybody likes to be in the know
And do it in customers’ terms. The public might not need to know all the nitty-gritty details, but educating with facts about what is in it for them along the journey will help them buy into the future we are creating. Meet them where they are and tell them what’s in it for them.
Stay the Course: Everyone likes to know the destination
Focus on the long-haul. Eye on the prize.
The future of mobility is the next big thing to have an impact on the world. Today’s innovators, regardless of what type of player they are, have the responsibility to create profound change in this age of abundance.
I’m that innovator. Let’s do it together.
mo·bil·i·ty: (noun) a concept that unites every single human being on the globe – Caroline Trudeau