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As Director of Innovation Enablement at HERE, a big part of my job is recognizing and promoting the consciousness that innovation can come from anywhere, and that we as a company must be built to embrace it. This company, after all, has innovation in its DNA.
When I talk to outside companies about HERE, I always tell them that we’ve been innovating since the mid-1980s. Back then, making digital maps was highly disruptive. Later, making a navigation system that would tell you how to drive and turn left and right, that was disruptive as well.
In the early days of cellular we made the first maps for mobile and the first internet maps. If you look more recently, one finds our autonomous-driving features in more and more vehicles. Our ADAS map for safety related driving is breaking new ground, and our indoor mapping and tracking solutions are being adopted into new systems every day. This is a lot of innovation.
Our drive to constantly discover and develop new ideas as a business secures our place in the autonomous world. But, we can still play a much bigger role. For us, it is important to innovate specifically in those domains where we know we can contribute to the autonomous world along with our business partners.
We’ve already shown we can bring innovation to market through our partnerships with companies like Mastercard, with infrastructure planners like Colorado, and bleeding-edge tech companies like Unifly. Innovation as part of partnerships is critical, as our CEO Edzard Overbeek says, no company can do it alone.
Discovering innovative concepts is a curious thing. Some might think that it’s the responsibility of a certain small group of people, perhaps locked away in a conference room and hidden away from everyone else. In truth, everyone within a company is capable, in fact responsible, of producing innovative ideas that are worth developing.
Within HERE, we have created a collaborative program within the company which aligns and enables our whole organization to one innovation process. That initiative is part of a global system where anyone from the U.S. to Germany to India can communicate ideas and develop them together. As ideas progress, other teams get the chance to feed back and input immediately. The process enables us to fail fast for ideas that won’t work, and rapidly develop ideas that benefit our products and clients.
If you think about the autonomous world, we can go everywhere. You can go wild! Consider the year 2050, when we anticipate the autonomous world will be well in place – so how can we move to the next planet?
Ok, maybe that’s fictional - but we’re looking already to how we can land safely on Mars. We take the excitement of that concept and apply it to how we think about healthcare, think about robots, think about logistics and drones. Our role will not stop with autonomous cars or autonomous cities, or smart cities… we can go everywhere.
I believe that HERE has strong thinkers, and strong partners. We’re all moving toward an autonomous future, and I think innovation will help us to get there.