What The Newspaper Industry Could Learn About Do Or Die Innovation …

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General Motors EV1

What The Newspaper Industry Learn About Do Or Die Innovation General Motors

As newspaper lose billions in market and innovation-minded journalists battle curmudgeons shell-shocked by the rapid of change amid increasingly economic realities, a lesson in transformation might come an unexpected source: General That s right, the once-dominate car which missed every that has lead to Toyota s from quality to environmentalism, is the farm on a radical approach to a new car and risks going down in if it fails.

Most media probably thought Nick s article in the July/August Issue of The Is Google Making Us Stupid? , was the interesting and relevant to media. But Rausch s piece on GM s last effort to transform itself by the world s first mainstream car ( after it failed to do so in the 90s), is a of do or die innovation that everyone in the industry and media generally read.

Here are some of the key

W hen one of the world’s mightiest corporations everything it’s got at a project, and it shreds its rule book in the the results are likely to be impressive. even for General Motors, the is a reach. If it meets specifications, it charge up overnight from any electrical socket. It will go 40 on a charge.

Then a small gasoline will ignite. The engine’s job will be to drive a generator, sole job will be to maintain the charge—not to drive the wheels, will never see anything but In generator mode, the car will hundreds of miles on a tank of at about 50 miles per gallon.

But three-fourths of Americans commute than 40 miles a day, so on days most Volt would use no gas at all.

That the group laid its conclusions Rick Wagoner and the rest of the top Preuss and Larry Burns, who the company’s research operations and is in the industry as something of a visionary, did not punches. GM had to show a real of mind on the environment and sustainability or Toyota’s doormat. It had to lead on or get left behind in yet another new It had to restore credibility damaged by the of the EV1, the abdication on hybrids, and the failure to deliver on promises.

It not just one more in a long of research programs and concept but a real-world product, one ambitious to impress even the cynics.

The proposed a plug-in that drive at least 10 miles on a It would be a cool, stylish, car, marketed to trendsetters. called it the iCar.

The company then made a of decisions that look, in startlingly audacious. Instead of a safer bet as it ran the internal slalom, the became more ambitious. Its range on a single charge from “at least” 10 miles to outer limit of what possible.

Not a few outsiders think decision was misguided; a 20-mile say, would still many commuters to drive most days, and it would be and cheaper to build. But Lauckner, pushing, insisted on a car that the would perceive not just as gasoline (that was Prius but as replacing gasoline. The Volt, as the was eventually renamed, had to be perceived as the umbilical cord between the car and the gas and nothing less than the feasible gas-free range, he would accomplish that.

most audacious of all was a decision to unusual public access to the program. The industry’s standard is to develop new products, especially ones, out of sight, unveiling only when proven. GM to do exactly the opposite.

The PR department open the doors. GM executives the program’s progress as publicly as if it a bill in Congress. They off photos of batteries under

They promise to let reporters in test cars. They them through the labs and centers and even into the tunnel. They run ads, for in this magazine, touting the in the present tense, as if it already By earlier this year, were so high that Bush was commending the car, and it had a national grassroots following.

This article is itself a of the fishbowl strategy.

All the talk saving newspapers is focused on new business models to keep what they ve always which is like GM looking for a new model to sell the kinds of they made in the 50s and 60s. the newspaper industry, if it is to survive as must find is a radical new proposition for news something so so self-evidently valuable that, if can find a way to deliver it, would to the rebirth of newspaper journalism.

Is a panacea? Of course, not. Nor is it for GM:

On the hand, if it fails, it will in full view. GM will given its critics the most example yet of a broken promise, and will look prudent of timid.

Despite its head GM will have to fight to be In January, after a year of GM bask in the Volt’s publicity, reacted. At the 2008 Detroit show, Katsuaki Watanabe, the announced that Toyota produce a lithium-ion plug-in car of its and would have it on the street in fleets “not at the end of 2010, but than that.” Toyota was about a few hundred experimental in a controlled setting, not tens of of cars in dealer showrooms, a less ambitious goal GM’s.

General Motors EV1

But Toyota is famous for under-promising and

In February, Tesla, the Silicon company, announced plans for an sedan with a gasoline-powered like the Volt—but set to arrive a earlier, in late 2009. In BMW said it might produce an car for the U.S. market, and in May, said it would have one in fleets in 2010. The drumbeat likely to continue.

Simply by the Volt, GM has attracted a bevy of bringing the electric car’s advent from over the to around the corner.

A bold new won t immediately turn the economic but it could turn the tide of

GM is using the publicity to excite the of course. It is also using the to push itself. “We thought it be a motivating thing to do,” says. “Certainly it gets aligned”—not always easy in a corporation. And GM wants credit for which it never received for the “If it fails,” Harris says of the “we want people to know why it failed. It wasn’t lack of or passion on our part; we hit a hard we couldn’t get around.”

GM’s leaders, needless to do not particularly welcome the competition a business point of view. But relish it from a psychological When I asked Larry the RD vice president, how he felt Toyota’s plans, he said, because they’re good.” But the answer was the grin that across his face as he recalled announcement and said, savoring syllable, “He was a follower .”

The newspaper is being crippled by competition, like Toyota in the case of GM, is a better job of delivering what the wants and needs. GM realized to survive they couldn t catch up to the competition they had to it and they had to do so by delivering the holy for consumers.

How can newspaper companies the competition? How can they be better Google? Those are the kind of that newspapers should be and then pursuing bold

Newspapers need to stop to save the old business or searching for new business models and instead out what needs are going in the market for news and then be in the market to deliver breakthrough

And they need to do it FAST:

improvements were being as fast as they could be the battery would be on its second in January, its third in June. incredible,” Turner said. design they’ve come up for thermal changed 10 times they delivered the first And all of this was before the arrival of a battery that might be as or even better, designed by the Massachusetts-based company A123 and the German company Continental “We’re inventing and creating on the path,” Turner said. He was the industry jargon for the countdown to when time is money and can cost millions. “I’ve got trying to release things they’re actually invented.

General Motors EV1
General Motors EV1
General Motors EV1
General Motors EV1
General Motors EV1
General Motors EV1
General Motors EV1


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