Network collaboration: a key to breakthrough

Examining kids’ behaviors helps reflecting on the dynamics of innovation. In the playground, one kid finds a ball and begins to play on its own. He throws it in the air or against the wall. It’s fun at start but becomes very quickly boring as development options are limited. Another kid finds a ball, asks around for players and collaborates with others to create the right context for a fun game. One will be the goalkeeper, another one the attacker. Obviously the game can last much longer with much more evolution possibilities.

Let’s see how this applies to converting into reality the radical rethinking of an existing urban concept.

What comes to mind if I say “urban public buses”? Slow, crowded, uncomfortable, always late? Now what if you could get exactly the contrary: a bus which is fast, spacious, comfortable, right on time (by the way, thinking about contraries is a good methodology tip to generate innovative products)

Sounds like a great but utopist idea? Well, not fully… it does exist. Let me introduce the SUPERBUS!!!

Imagine a bus with 23 individual business style leather seats that picks you up where and when you wish and brings you at a speed of 250 km/hours where you have to go. And on top of that, it’s an electric one !

The concept in itself is great. It aims to provide a solution to changes that will result from different megatrends such as mobility, megacities and resource efficiencies.

However, to really breakthrough, the SUPERBUS project is dependent on the successful collaboration of different parties with very different interests, stakeholders and workings.  First you need a bus. Private manufacturers can do that, can’t they? Though, as it is a very daring concept, I am not sure that a standard bus manufacturer would jump in on day one. It is more a project for visionary CEO’s, such as Tesla’s electric sports cars CEO or Virgin boss once he is done with turning space into a tourist spot.  Then you need separate high-speed lanes between cities, and laws that allow high speed. Here, the players are politicians, public institutions, and citizens who might like the idea or oppose strongly as they do with new airports runways that disturb their quality of life. Of course you need electric power stations at the right places. And finally you need public bus companies and driving schools to cooperate to train and recruit bus drivers that could be able to join the Monaco formula 1 race…

As you can see, an invention can look great but converting it into reality often requires a very close and visionary collaboration between very different entities.

Be collaborative, be visionary, and above all be determined!