The challenge

Develop a feasible, viable and desirable business strategy for Ford to grab opportunities in the self-driving goods delivery market

The outcome

A roadmap identifying the most important obstacles and a proposed strategy and service design that gradually introduces the public to the notion of self-driving (Ford) cars.

Brief and context

For the course Strategic Design Project we were asked to explore opportunities for Ford around self-driving cars and the goods delivery market. During the project we regularly met with our client at Ford discussing research, ideas and concepts. January 2017 we presented presented our ideas on an internal innovation fair. Later on I presented the concept to the board of Ford Europe after we were selected as one of the most promising projects.

Process

1. Key challenges

We kicked-off our project with research on the market and technology, and from there we identified three key challenges for Ford to overcome on their way of introducing self-driving cars:

2. Core idea

These challenges led us to the idea of introducing a modular car. A car of which the functionality is seperated from the mobility. Separating the mobility from the function allows Ford to quickly and cheaply change the functionality and design of the car as the market develops and Ford collects new insights. With this you build a platform for open innovation, allowing experimentation to take place.

Strategy vision

“We envision a future in which Ford operates a modular mobility platform, that allows the company to offer a full spectrum of services and quickly adapt to new market opportunities”

3. Strategic roadmap

Based on the challenges and this new idea we developed a roadmap in which, step by step, we advice Ford on how to prepare the market and develop the technology

1
Horizon 1: starts by introducing a ‘level 4’ self driving car, meaning that there is somebody sitting remotely on stand by to intervene when necessary. In this scenario Ford offers a service for IKEA customers; following their cars back home while carrying their purchases. Having these cars on the road while ensuring safety allows Ford to gather data, develop algorithms, and give the public a first glimpse of self-driving cars
2
Horizon 2: at this point the car is almost completely self-driving, allowing the expansion of a service to a branded goods delivery service, targeted at retailers and supermarkets. This increases the amount of cars and it gradually becomes a profitable business. The main function is to prepare the market, get users familiar and comfortable with the cars.
3
Horizon 3: introduces a ride-hailing service under the Ford brand based on the same modular platform, and a parallel business of goods delivery. And in horizon 4, when the public is used to the technology and self-driving ride hailing, Ford has a platform in place to start experimenting in cross-overs between goods delivery and ride hailing and can start to build new businesses

4. Service & business model

In order to get an understanding of the system we detailled the service proposed in horizon 2; the branded goods delivery service. To do this we created two service blueprints; a B2B (Ford to supermarket) and B2C (supermarket to consumer) service blueprint.

The value proposition of Ford is to offer a branded delivery service, meaning that the customer has to get the experience tied to the supermarket. The entire shell of the car is branded as the supermarket, and the apps and digital displays are branded to look and feel like the supermarket. The customer should not notice it’s a service made possible by Ford.

Because the cars are self-driving the price is competitive; Albert Heijn could deliver groceries for 1,60 at a minimum order of 23 euros, reaching more customers, with a specific ‘Albert Heijn’ experience.

Conclusion

“Using this strategy, Ford gets to develop it’s cars while minimising risk of market developments making the car redundant because of the modular nature of the car. Starting with the goods delivery allows the company to develop the algorithms, fund development and prepare the public for self-driving cars, without putting the brand or passengers at risk. When both technology and public trust have been established Ford can utilise its brand to introduce a ride hailing service and use the self-driving platform to become the go-to player for experiments around around self-driving cars and introduce the autonomous playground”

Dreamteam

Jelmer Kok
Rebekka Lennings
Lars Scholing
Stijn Bakker