March 11, 2021

Turbulent Times or Great Opportunity?

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic” – Peter Drucker

I’m not a person who regularly reuses quotes from greater leaders, sportspeople or visionaries and for those that know me well, when I do I have a habit of misphrasing them, regularly bringing laughter to my friends and colleagues. But Peter Drucker’s “turbulent times” quote is apt in so many ways with the last year paying full testament to it. Our ability as human beings to survive, fight, innovate, love and care has rarely been tested as much – we have all had to embrace a new logic and mindset.

When I reflect on what this means for the automotive sector (or should we start to call it mobility sector?) I see an industry that is highly competitive, dominated by large multinationals and very traditional in nature. Yet I also see an industry that at the same time is undergoing some of the most fast paced and pivotal transformations since Henry Ford revolutionised transportation.

Over recent years the sector has needing to embrace fundamental shifts in capability, culture and customer preferences, largely driven by technology advancements such as:

  • The automation and efficiency drive with the adoption of Industry 4.0 practices within product manufacturing, with the likes of digital twin technologies, real time dynamic supply chains leading to customer order production lines.
  • Unprecedented technology advancements with the drive towards fully autonomous (Level 5) vehicles with its fierce debates on lidar, stereo vision, geofencing capabilities vs the regulatory and safety constraints led by governments policies.
  • The next generation of connected car, smart cities and smart infrastructure, that together with real cross sector collaboration will enable whole V2X ecosystems and some of those cool innovations that sci-fi films showed when we were younger.
  • The use of blockchain technology within the supply chain to ensure true sustainability to monitor and control the sourcing of key components, for example the mining and construction of battery materials.
  • Google automotive services (GAS) revolutionising the infotainment in car, from the “Hey Google” concept to opening up of the platform for android developers to monetise a new ecosystem.
  • The over the air updates (OTA) crushing the typical 3-to-5-year product development life cycle and challenging the industry to be more software innovators than product engineers.
  • The transition to true mobility with subscription services and membership clubs which is turning the whole ownership model upside down, not to mention the impact on the traditional KPI’s that focus on delivering increasing year on year volumes and sales
  • The foreseeable end of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) production with the mass adoption of EV vehicles as our desire for a carbon neutral footprint accelerates.
  • Finally, the traditional wholesale franchised operating model being challenged with OEM’s moving to direct online customer engagements with the full customer journey being possible from the comfort of your home.

Each of these would be considered major transformations in isolation; however, when combined surely it is revolutionary?

For me, one of my recent challenges has been understanding how we could make direct customer sales in a digital channel a global reality for a premier OEM, but I wonder if you have had experience of similar transformational changes yet? Or perhaps you’ve got other examples you would add to the list?

So, is the industry up to this challenge?

History has shown us that some of the greatest technology step changes have come during periods of adversity. Even recently Covid_19 and the Global environmental challenge have driven unprecedented accelerations in both the adoption of EV Vehicles and direct Online sales.

It is this backdrop and the scale of the challenge facing our sector that made me jump at the opportunity of joining changemaker, to lead and develop their automotive sector practice. In my role as Transformation Director, I’m confident we can support old and new clients in dealing with some of the significant opportunities our sector faces, such as digitalisation, direct sales channel and the introduction of EV’s

I will be sharing further thoughts and insights on these topics and others in the coming months so look out for further blog posts on the approaches the industry is taking to addressing sustainable change in turbulent times, and as always, I will be keen to hear you views, learning and observations.


Here at changemaker, we support organisations and individuals in delivering sustainable and lasting change, especially during times of turbulence.

When supporting teams in change we work with the human being as well as the process, enabling organisations to ensure they are not using yesterday’s logic to solve today’s problems.

If you want to learn more about us, take a look at our website or email myself at

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