Innovation Insider: An interview with Ian Thompson, Chief Engineer and Head of Innovation and New Technology at Grove Hydrogen Automotive

Innovation Insider


22 July, 2019   Innovation Insider

We are tracking down Innoget users in the world's most amazing companies to discover their thoughts on open innovation, where they see open innovation is headed, and learn more about how is the innovation culture within their organization.

Therefore, this month we interviewed Mr. Ian Thompson, Chief Engineer and Head of Innovation and New Technology at Grove Hydrogen Automotive, to know more about the future of open innovation and key elements for successful implementation. In order to get a clear picture of Grove Hydrogen Automotive, the company borns from a desire to create a car that is truly clean, from the earth it originates to the roads upon which it allows its passengers to roam. Grove has searched the earth to find the greatest scientific advances to achieve this goal. A combined effort of the best from technology and minds from all over the world, Grove delivers a new standard of green mobility, powered by hydrogen, enlightened by science and focused on the future for all mankind.

The company, based in Wuhan, China, creates cars respecting the energy and materials the planet has given us. Simultaneously respecting the desires of its passengers to enjoy a comfortable, enjoyable and convenient solution to navigating this great planet. 

Ian, can you briefly describe your role within Metalsa and how do you define open innovation?

My role is to lead the full vehicle product development for all vehicle brands and variants within Grove. I am also responsible for leading Innovation and New Technology in the organization, to ensure Grove keeps up to date with the latest technologies. The team will also be challenged to ensure all our technologies have minimal to no impact on the environment to keep with the strategy and DNA of Grove.

Ian Thompson, Chief Engineer and Head of Innovation and New Technology at Grove Hydrogen Automotive / Innoget, Ian Thompson

Where do you see open innovation headed and how do you think organizations can prepare for where it is going?

I have been involved in Innovation since the beginning of my career but only within the last 10 years, I have seen the focus changing to proactive rather than reactive innovation strategies. The pace at which technology is changing is ever increasing so its imperative that organizations take this critical activity seriously.

Setting dedicated small teams with the key goals of researching and following up on innovations is vital. These teams need specific types of individuals to be effective, open minds, creative thinkers, application experts and a willingness to learn and research areas outside the realm of the organization.

Based on your expertise, what are the key elements to implement a successful open innovation strategy?

The key elements I believe contribute to a successful strategy are: Clear goals, strategy, and mission of the organization, corporate executive team fully supportive, enabled budget, dedicated team, openness to investigating other industries, utilizing tools like Innoget to broaden horizons, attend summits, shows, universities, research facilities, and constant willingness to learn.

What is the open innovation culture like in your organizations?

As the company is very new, just 2 years old, the innovation culture is very much in its infancy, however, this is a positive side as it gives an open book and open mind start to the process. Having my background in open innovation and having a young creative team is a great start to building for the future.

Can you share anything about how Innoget helps open innovation activities?

I have been using Innoget for many years and working with Jordi on and off a long time in different countries and different cultures.

My expertise is helping startups and niche vehicle companies create effective Innovative structures. As these companies do not have the large Innovation teams and research capabilities of the big OEMs and a global platform like Innoget is a perfect start point to get your ideas out there and also get assistance from a large network of creative sources like universities, research companies, inventors. It also helps to gain interest in your organization and can support investment and growth for your company.

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