Technology Offices make trend research results available to the public. Platform bundles knowledge with new technologies. Frank Weber: “Innovation is created in the spaces in between. We want to start a dialogue with potential partners. Research and development do not work with-out an outside-in perspective
Exclusive technological expertise for everyone: The BMW Group has made its Trend Radar public. The technology sector’s trend research website bundles the key findings of the global BMW Technology Offices in the USA, Germany, Israel, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and China. Global trend research allows the company to draw conclusions about future technological developments. As part of the open access approach, these results will be immediately processed in the Trend Radar and made available externally, meaning scientific institutions, start-ups, as well as potential partners can use them. BMW wants to start a dialogue with them using this approach, which has never been implemented in the automotive industry before. This will promote open exchange on tech trends across industries and encourage cooperation.
Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management for Development at BMW AG, explains the initiative: “For me, one thing is clear: innovation is created in the spaces in between, i.e., through interaction. By openly publishing our Tech Radar, we want to start a dialogue with potential partners. Research and development do not work without an outside-in perspective.”
Trends: from theory to execution
To identify the most interesting technology developments from manufacturing and science, scouts from the Technology Offices evaluate innovations based on three questions: (1) What relevance does the technology have for mobility? (2) How quickly is its development maturing? (3) What does the BMW Group need to know to successfully apply the technology? This results in a trend portfolio that is recommended for close observation (Watch), initial projects (Prepare), or concrete, agile application (Act).
In the BMW Group, trend research and technology scouting are not just art for art’s sake. More than half of the 400 projects that the Technology Offices have initiated since 2019 stemming from identified trends have been transferred internally to a specialist department. Of these, ten per cent found their way into concrete applications and products – five times more than what is usually the case when transferring innovations into practice. One example is the BMW iX’s iDrive panel. Special laser processing perforates the wood of the control panel in such a way that digital displays underneath shine through and can be operated if required. This application goes back to technologies discovered by Technology Offices in Japan and Korea.