August has been a whirlwind, here at the London Connectory, with rain, sun, a Champion’s League draw – and two weeks of activities taking place.
We welcomed eight SMEs on to our first ever Summer Open House programme to experience first-hand our unique mobility ecosystem; JustPark, Brompton Bike Hire, Cazana, Hiyacar, Pelation, TravelAI, CYCL and Otto Scooter.
The fortnight was filled with a host of events, including fireside chats with senior executives from Bosch, Transport for London, workshops including an introduction to PR for mobility startups – and our summer reception – MobilityFest.
Here’s a glimpse into what went on…
Expertise was shared in an open forum, with sessions open to our members as well as the companies participating on the programme. We were joined by Karel Endlicher of the Bosch UK Powertrain team who ran an electrification workshop, providing insights into the realities of a mass electrification future.
Given the importance of marketing when it comes to new technologies, Nitrous’ Tzvete Doncheva also ran a workshop covering what makes an effective PR and marketing campaign, targeted towards the mobility industry. With mobility touching so many industry verticals, there are many factors to consider, but the basics of establishing the business’ messaging as early as possible remain critical.
“I think the Connectory is an excellent foundation upon which to build a truly outside-in approach that makes sense for both Bosch’s internal and external stakeholders. It starts with understanding what problems we can solve together to ensure that in the end, everyone benefits from the relationship”Michael Nichols, International Lead Bosch Accelerator Programme
Conversations around collaboration were happening throughout the two weeks – and it was a theme that was particularly resounding when meeting with innovation teams from Bosch and TfL.
From the Bosch team, we were joined by Michael Nichols, the International Lead for the Bosch Accelerator Programme. He lead a fireside chat explaining Bosch’s corporate innovation strategy and how collaboration with external partners takes a central role. Ultimately, innovation cannot be all done in-house; they rely on SMEs to locate challenges that they can assist and collaborate with external partners.
Similarly, when Arun Srinivasan, the Executive Vice President for Bosch Mobility Solutions lead a lunchtime talk, he explained the role that the London Connectory has for the mobility community to collaborate with Bosch and their in co-creation and innovation projects.
In addition, we gained unique insights into what city challenges from the TfL team over the course of the Summer House programme including the Mayor’s Vision Zero strategy with Nicola Imrie, the Commercial Innovation Manager. Nicola elaborated on the key role that external partners like SMEs, startups and corporate partners have in working with TfL to tackle this target.
Finally, Rikesh Shah, Head of Commercial Innovation for TfL, spoke about the idea that in order to meet the Mayor’s transport strategies, TfL needs to work with startups and SMEs to face and solve these challenges. He highlighted the pivotal role that the London Connectory plays in being an innovation hub, home to a community of people all eager to make transport in London safer, more sustainable and equitable for all.
“The London Connectory is a fantastic ecosystem, where Bosch, startups, academics and other innovators can get together and co-create solutions that can be developed, piloted, tested and potentially scaled to help solve the city’s challenges.”Rikesh Shah, Head of Commercial Innovation, Transport for London
With the numerous challenges to solve, the London Connectory’s role within the mobility ecosystem is clear; to act as a sandbox for co-creation between SME’s, corporates, academics and the public sector. It is much more than existing in the same building, rather it’s about creating an ecosystem where ideas and collaboration naturally occurs.
We also managed to let our hair down and test how the London mobility community fares when socialising together. The resounding answer is: very!
For our summer reception, we welcomed leaders from London’s mobility community to join us for an evening of TED-style keynotes, networking and a BBQ on our terrace. 5 minute talks were were given by Zac Zachariah (TravelAi), Gigi Etienne (what3words), Pierrick Athukorala (ViaVan) and Phil Mackinson (Hiyacar).
The evening and highlighted how the London Connectory can play a central role in bringing together people from the transport industry and just how willing this group are in doing so. We look forward to our next!
As the London Connectory gradually matures and finds its feet, we’re realising the potential value of the space to the mobility community and the citizens of London. Over the last couple of weeks, we have truly seen the potential of the London Connectory as the destination for London’s mobility leaders, where relationships are cultivated, projects created and challenges overcome. As our community grows, we are discovering that by bringing like-minded people together into a place to learn and communicate co-creation ideas can happen organically which ultimately is the goal of the London Connectory.