​"We are broadening our awareness from a networking framework"

FCA implements the concept of HUB to propose new ways of working and innovating based on connectivity and collaborative intelligence

January 15, 2020 - Try to mentally visualize a conventional industrial office: individual workstations, an environment with well-divided spaces and few areas for collective living, with a well-defined hierarchy (often by the size or location of the room, as well as the comfort of the armchair) and an overly systematized work process. Did you miss something? Perhaps the correct word is "breath." With all this rigid structure and predictable dynamics, there is little room for chance and thus for creativity and the joint construction of cutting-edge solutions.

Now imagine the opposite of all this: a less individually-centered, more collectively-oriented way of working and interacting. Isolated stations in the workplace no longer make sense, as the connection between people generates ideas and opportunities. For this very reason, group meetings are encouraged, not only in traditional meeting rooms, but in “decompression” areas where exchanges can be made more easily and lightly. These exchanges, by the way, are more horizontal: good ideas that can become solutions are independent of hierarchy. What’s important is connectivity, which goes beyond physical boundaries. Now you get the idea of the HUB FCA concept. It is a collaborative networking proposal that is more likely to create and innovate by embracing the fact that the world, like the market, is plural, fluid, volatile and complex. The old formulas no longer work - in fact, they meet needs, but not in the best way possible.

People at HUB FCAConnecting people is encouraged at the HUB FCA.

“The idea is to collaboratively bring more agility and better understanding of the valued propositions we want to develop for our consumers, be they products or services,” says Breno Kamei, Director of Portfolio, Research and Competitive Intelligence for FCA in Latin America. The focus is always on the consumer: the human being who is increasingly connected, interacting with devices and has new expectations as to what a car can offer. Thus, the connections at the HUB FCA capture market and behavioral trends, technology and consumer news to predict solutions. “We understand today that when we multiply our presence, not only in the factory but elsewhere, with other creative entrepreneurs and companies, we increase our power of awareness”, says Mateus Silveira, Product Innovation and Connectivity Manager at FCA Latam.

FCA has mapped out, for example, a network of different startups - more than 500 worldwide, in countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the United States - to build an emerging innovation strategy. “We can understand these startups as surfers who are on the best wave in each area”, jokes Mateus, about the sea of ​​stimuli and opportunities. With a better distribution network, FCA can assess who it should connect with in order to build a collaborative intelligence.

Gustavo Delgado, Innovation and Connectivity front coordinator, explains that one of the examples of the formation of this network is the challenge launched by FCA in Latin America in partnership with Sebrae's Nexos Program, to think of the car as a platform and starting point to offer new solutions to consumers, reframing existing technologies in the car, expanding their use and access to the opportunities that cities offer. “We were able to mobilize a network of people with diverse skills. In total, 39 startups presented innovative solutions, which became 23 and then down to five finalists”, explains Gustavo. "Nexos grasps our concept of connectivity, understood as the ability to operate in a network environment, in this case consisting of large companies, startups and acceleration environments acting collaboratively", he adds.

Professionals at HUB FCAOpen and integrated spaces help to operational aspect of the HUB concept.

This type of interaction, which happens via public notices as in the case of the Nexos Program, is part of HUB FCA's structured strategy, in which processes, methods and tools are established. A second step, unstructured and open, takes place parallel form. In other words, one of the great merits of this new approach is to provide encounters that generate insights and unexpected opportunities. As a concept, the HUB has been around for a few years, has been tested in a variety of formats, and in 2019 gained two physical anchor points: one within the Fiat Automotive Plant in Betim (MG, Brazil), where some 100 professionals work, and one outside the factory premises, in a co-working setting in Belo Horizonte (capital of Minas Gerais) part of the WeWork network. “It’s in these meetings where autonomous cells have opportunities for collaboration”, says Mateus. Expansion to other states is scheduled for 2020. He points out that the HUB FCA also has a traveling dynamic: wherever a professional involved in FCA processes takes his/her laptop out of the backpack to connect with other people and initiatives, there is one more point reached by the network. Physical spaces meet geographical boundaries, not ideas.

“FCA left the factory to integrate with other ecosystems and communities, in order to be in places where it can expand beyond the knowledge it already has”, reinforces Gustavo. He says that Parisian cafes, famous nineteenth century meeting places to exchange ideas with the potential to change reality, are what inspired the concept. “These are dialogues and connections that would not be possible if FCA were restricted to the factory unit. We need openness to be surprised, to breathe new air”, he comments. Within the automotive plant which is integrated into the real city composed by the factory, the HUB acts as a disruptive stimulus that invites us to see the automotive industry from a new angle. Outside, in the midst of the enlarged city where people, repertoires, generations, and questions converge, FCA becomes more sensitive to the "now." The results are promising: “We can see things broadly and farther, we have more consistency in our activities because of all this background which gives us more agility as well as economic, social and environmental sustainability for processes and business”, concludes Mateus.

Check out the presentation of HUB FCA in the video below:

Words: Bárbara Caldeira

Pictures: Marketing

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