Unleashing the Unicorn Within: Nurturing Innovation in Legacy Auto

Unleashing the Unicorn Within: Nurturing Innovation in Legacy Auto

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Episode 101 is here, and we're diving deep into a compelling journey through the heart of the auto industry's transformation. Buckle up as we explore how legacy companies are reimagining themselves in the face of rapid change.

In Episode 100, we sat down with industry veterans John McElroy and Jason Stein, to examine the auto industry's leadership and culture. Now, it's time to shift our focus towards the future—toward transformation

While the term "transformation" might seem like a ubiquitous buzzword, the present episode promises a fresh outlook. We're not just talking about change; we're uncovering the essential elements that propel legendary auto companies into the future.

Remember the Blockbuster and Netflix tale? Think of it as a cautionary tale for our beloved industry. How can century-old giants like Goodyear and Ford shift their thinking to harness the power of startups? We delve into the success story of Mach49 and Goodyear's transformation journey, revealing how they're nurturing innovation and embracing the startup mindset.

And here's a hint: It's not just about splitting businesses or making structural changes. It's about a cultural revolution that brings innovation to the forefront.

Linda Yates, CEO of Mach49, lays out the path to success in her book, "The Unicorn Within," unveiling how legacy giants can tap into the magic of startups and innovation. It's a blueprint for reinvention—a guide to unleashing the true potential of auto industry leaders.

But the real magic lies in understanding how Tesla's "all design in one room" philosophy can break down the silos that have held us back. It's time to ignite a startup mentality and forge new paths.

So, rev up your curiosity and join us on this riveting journey of transformation and innovation. Click the play button and hear the auto industry's evolution from the inside out.

Get ready to shift gears and embrace the future. Because, as we'll uncover, the road less traveled is where the true revolution begins.

Themes discussed in this episode:

  • Transformation in the Auto Industry
  • Startup Mentality and Culture shift
  • Lessons from Goodyear and Mach49
  • Nurturing innovation and embracing startups
  • Overcoming Silos and Nurturing Innovation
  • Importance of fostering an authentic leadership approach
  • Adapting and staying relevant in a rapidly changing landscape

Others mentioned in this episode:

Featured Guest: Jan Griffiths (Host)

What she does: Jan is the founder and president of Gravitas Detroit, an organization dedicated to cultivating authentic leadership in the automotive industry by providing courses, workshops, speaking events, and more. She is also the host of The Automotive Leaders Podcast.

On leadership: "This podcast is all about finding those leaders who really 'get it,' who understand what the leadership model and the culture is required for in the future of this industry."

Episode Highlights:

[00:03:59] Injecting Innovation into Legacy Giants. Jan discusses the need for legacy auto companies to infuse a startup mentality into their operations for innovation. Splitting business units like Ford did is a step, but true transformation requires cultural shifts beyond just structural changes.

[00:06:37] Unleashing Innovation. Jan highlights Goodyear's example of successfully integrating startup mentality into their legacy company. This case study showcases the importance of nurturing innovation, fostering cross-functional collaboration, and adopting a venture capital approach.

[00:08:29] Strategies for Cultivating Innovation. Jan delves into "The Unicorn Within," a book by Linda Yates, showcasing how legacy companies can create a nurturing environment, leverage their strengths, and diversify their growth engine.

[00:11:35] Disrupting Traditional Silos. Jan explores Tesla's innovative approach of having all design under one roof. This strategy disrupts traditional silos, enabling streamlined communication and collaboration, resulting in more cohesive and innovative designs. 

[00:15:52] Journey to personal and professional transformation. Jan shares her personal transformation journey, from leaving a corporate job to pursuing her mission. The story illustrates the importance of aligning personal beliefs with professional goals to drive meaningful change. 

[00:17:34] Shifting from Incremental to 10x Thinking. Jan encourages a shift in mindset from incremental improvement to a more ambitious 10x thinking, citing examples of how personal and professional transformations can drive significant change.

Top Quotes

[00:02:37] Jan:  "Think back to the Netflix story. Blockbuster had the chance, didn't they, to nurture that startup, but they didn't do it... They were complacent. They thought that they knew best. And they were dead wrong."

[00:05:12] Jan: "It's one thing to make the structural change, but it's about much more than that. It's about the culture and the way that we do business."

[00:10:09] Jan: "There are advantages that we have in legacy auto land, but we have to learn how to leverage those unique attributes and those unique things that we have."

[00:10:37] Jan: "It's about finding the right culture for our legacy companies; I believe will be the secret to our success."

[00:16:35] Jan: "I walked away from that, took it all to $0 income, because I believed—I believe in myself, and I believe in my mission. My mission is to transform the culture in the auto industry."

[00:18:09] Jan: "And so what we have to do in legacy auto land is to get away from this 2x incremental steps of improvement kind of mindset and move to more of a 10x kind of thinking, both professionally and personally, to close this out.”

[00:18:54] Jan: "It's going to take a heck of a lot more than small incremental steps of improvement. It's going to take massive transformation in the way we think and the way that we do business. The time for this transformation is now.”

Mentioned in this episode:

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