From Innovation in Supply Chains to Innovation in Ecosystems: The case of Intelligent and Connected Vehicles Innovative Business Model in Shanghai

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2021)


There is extense literature on how innovation is managed and implemented in the automotive industry. A common characteristic in this body of literature is how OEMs managed to attain control of the innovation process in the whole supply chain. During the 1990's and 2000'’ there was a discussion about the "hollowing out" of OEMs, or how outsourcing of innovation to suppliers and later, electrification of powertrains could destroy knowledge base and technological competences in the auto industry. But the auto industry kept control of main competences by means of controlling product architecture of vehicles, and therefore, the control of the whole supply chain. (Mello & Marx, 2007)
However, with the introduction of technologies and businesses models that are completely outside the scope of the traditional knowledge base from the automotive industry - such as connected and intelligent vehicles, this discussion about control and collaboration for innovation in the automotive industry is gaining importance once again.
This article aims to discuss this issue, bringing to the table the concept of innovation ecosystem, i.e. "the evolving set of actors, activities, and artifacts, and the institutions and relations, including complementary and substitute relations, that are important for the innovative performance of an actor or a population of actors." (Granstrand & Holgersson, 2020). Our hypothesis is that the increasing complexity of technologies, actors and business models is transforming the model of innovation management in automotive industry, from a linear, hierarchical model where OEMs keep control of product architecture and knowledge base, to a more collective network of heterogeneous, yet complementary organizations jointly create innovations. (Gomes et. al, 2021)
We would like to explore the case of the Shanghai Intelligent and Connected Vehicle R&D Center, discussing how it fits the concept of an innovation ecosystem, and how this innovation model could transform the way that innovation is managed in the automotive industry. We would like to explore the role of the main actors, especially the OEMs, in this new configuration of actors and institutions for innovation. China has interesting experiments in developing new technologies for Electric and Connected Vehicles (Wang & Kimble, 2012). In order to achieve the research objective, we plan to conduct a case study about SICV, by conducting in site interviews and visits, and secondary data such as research reports and articles.
Shanghai Intelligent and Connected Vehicle R&D Center Co., Ltd. (SICV) is jointly funded and established by Shanghai Lingang Economic Development Group Co., Ltd., Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU) and a technical and management team of Shanghai Jiaotong University. It is responsible for a functional platform of intelligent and connected vehicle open test area construction, authorized and entrusted by Shanghai Economic and Information Commission, Shanghai Traffic Commission, Shanghai Public Security Bureau, Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission, Shanghai Science and Technology Innovation Office, supported by the Government of Fengxian District, where SICV is located. SICV could be described as an innovation ecosystem, comprising the development of a complete innovative business model for intelligent and connected vehicles, from a user mobility requirements until the complete technological solution, from automotive until connection solutions


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