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More on Ford design and innovation.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on November 1, 2005

This was just sent to me by someone who covers the automotive industry who requested anonymity. It’s pretty shocking and certainly explains why Ford’s Mary Ann Wright doesn’t like criticism of her company’s hybrid engine technology. Here goes”

“We in the Detroit automotive press reported basically what you did, and then we got a dressing down from Ford’s Phil Martens (now gone) about what really transpired between Ford and Toyota. I’m pretty sure that original press release is still on Ford’s web site. It’s terrible. It makes it look like Ford bought everything from Toyota wholesale, when that did not happen. I learned that Toyota actually wrote the press release and Ford approved it. I think there was an identical press release from Toyota that came out at the same time. Bottom line: the impression was created that Ford used Toyota technology. As Martens explained: there are only so many ways you can turn on a light switch. The electricity has to flow through certain paths. It’s the same thing with the way Ford and Toyota’s hybrids work. Though they share no common parts, the way they work is much the same. Toyota just perfected the process first.”

And this person added: “Ford licensed some Toyota processes — in other words, there’s only so many ways you can make a hybrid work. Ford did not use any Toyota technology or parts in the Escape Hybrid. What Ford did use was some of the same operating principles such as how you route the power etc.”

OK. So, back to my original question. Does Ford get innovation when it comes to hybrids? Given what I now know, thanks to the blogosphere and Mary Ann Wright, I have to answer “yes.” Now all it has to do is compete with Toyota and others in producing the hybrid models that consumers now demand.

Reader Comments

William R. Walling

November 2, 2005 5:34 AM

Mr. Nussbaum,
Ms. Wright has resigned FOMOCO and my novel ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicle IP affords VERY HIGH MPG employing existing + new product. (Hint: Recall 'Laws of Physics'?)
If innovation is truly welcome at FOMOCO, who would NOT be interested in conversation about this timely IP?
Clear Eyes = Transportation Industry Solution,
WR'Bill'Walling, President - STC

Polo Ralph Lauren

August 4, 2010 2:52 AM

I agree with Ian, I love the iPad and i dont think the title was right to adress this subject. Not only is the iphone almost un-hackible, but it is the only computer like technology where one can download the apps like an iphone can. For example


August 26, 2010 5:49 PM

Thanks for the post! Ellipticals are such useful pieces of equipment. They are so convenient, easy on your joints, and having one in your home helps you remember every day to exercise.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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