Electric cars find a new niche in auto racing...and fuel further innovation.

Part of a series on Global Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Marketing

Since the 1950s, Formula One (F1) has billed itself as the ultimate engineering challenge, the penultimate arena for an automotive manufacturer to prove their prowess in building the fastest, most efficient and innovative cars on earth. In recent years, however, the sport has struggled to maintain relevance, with high budgets and cars built around mechanical ideas that will never see their way onto the road.  Combined with a static schedule of tracks well outside of major cities, the series is failing to draw in new fans.  Grand Prix-level racing was once a monument to automotive modernity and innovation, but interest and involvement has shrunk over the past decade. If even the top-level of auto racing is struggling to draw interest from the world’s leading manufacturers, and fellow established top-level series have also struggled over that span, where is the money and engineering talent going?

Enter Formula E (FE), a radically different organization that brings auto racing into the 21st century with a fresh set of ideas and values that, by its 2010-2020 season, has attracted the likes of Jaguar, Porsche, Nissan, BMW, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Mahindra, and Citroen. It has the eyes and wheels of more established race car manufacturers, as well as those just emerging from a newer, burgeoning auto industry from the developing world.  While every other major racing series on earth runs cars that are primarily gas or diesel-powered, FE’s competitors run all-electric open wheel racers.

The focus on electric power is emblematic of a series-wide focus on innovation. By mandating electric power, the league allows factories to use competition to develop their future electric technologies, driving efficiency and new ideas in the same way that auto racing has driven development in more traditional cars over the past century. Immediately, the series answers a key issue that its competitors have tried and failed to solve with smaller pushes toward road relevancy. 

The innovative, everyday aspects of FE don’t end at the power sources. While F1 races almost exclusively at the same closed-circuit tracks miles from city centers year after year, FE runs on temporary street circuits around a rotating cast of ten cities a year. Where F1 runs advanced slick tires that only provide optimal grip in the dry on a clean racing circuit, FE’s cars run on a Michelin compound with grooves that operates in both wet and dry conditions, a tire closer to a road equivalent than any used in any other major racing series. While Liberty Media, F1’s American owners, has finally pushed F1 toward social media in 2017, FE has been running a fan vote on multiple platforms that actually provides additional temporary speed boosts to more popular drivers since its first season. All of this happens on budgets that are miniscule in comparison to the nine-figure annual cost of a top-tier F1 program. 

The future of the automotive world may not be entirely electric, but it certainly seems to be at least one of the ways the market will remain relevant going forward. While its traditional channels have struggled to adapt, FE has found a niche that skews towards younger, leaner, and more socially-conscious - in both cars and audiences - than its older brother. It may never replace F1, and it may never find relevance within the U.S. of series like NASCAR or IndyCar, but in a marketplace that has become increasingly unsustainable, FE has something not one of these three series can claim: A clear vision for a way forward that translates across manufacturers, economies and cultures. 

by Hunter A. Smith

KSW and Global Chamber San Diego host global cyber event - watch it!


Global Chamber San Diego, led by Kuntal Shah Warwick, hosted a successful multi-metro roundtable with co-host ScaleMatrix at their Launch Center on July 27th.  Our speakers discussed the current threats in cyber, technology integration challenges and possible solutions, as well as opportunities to partner across borders.  Watch the video.

Global Chamber Nashville member The Tisdale Group offered their insights on cyber technologies, challenges and solutions in the counter-terrorism field.  The Tisdale Group was founded with the single-minded purpose to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the effects of extreme violence, both at home and abroad. Their leadership team and most of their team members are former military and have a passion for preventing and reducing the effects of violence thru technology and their vast real-world experiences. The scientists and engineers at The Tisdale Group share this passion and the two different worlds come together to develop truly outstanding technological, tactical and commercially viable solutions.

GetGlobal 2017 brings together world's business elite.

Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Carlos Gutierrez giving the keynote speech at last year's conference.

Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Carlos Gutierrez giving the keynote speech at last year's conference.

As a representative for Global Chamber San Diego, KSW Consulting has had the privilege of coming into contact with some of the most innovative companies and promising opportunities in global business.  One of these is the GetGlobal conference (to which GCSD is a strategic partner) that is designed to fuel international growth across sectors.  In its second year, GetGlobal is expecting to attract almost 2,000 business professionals and executives from around the world who will meet at LA Live in Los Angeles, CA from October 25-26.  Topics to be covered this year include Managing IP Across Borders, Global Communications Strategy, Strategic Market Expansion, and Doing Good While Going Global.  This year’s top speakers include Andy Kaplan, President of Worldwide Networks, Sony Pictures Television; Blake Irving, CEO, GoDaddy.com; Rajiv Kumar, Indian Central Bank; Rebecca Alexander, Founder and President, Socialyte Collective, among many others.

Find out more and register for this premiere global conference bringing together people across industries and sectors.  We look forward to seeing you there!




Risks and rewards of social entrepreneurship.

A few years ago, KSW Consulting began to engage with clients who are in the social entrepreneurship space.  A combination of global venture capital activity, technology and innovation, increasing population and socioeconomic challenges has fueled this emerging industry.  

The definition of social entrepreneurship varies depending on whom you ask.  We found that The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship has the most comprehensive definition and guidelines for this type of work.  They explain:

Social entrepreneurs drive social innovation and transformation in various fields including education, health, environment and enterprise development. They pursue poverty alleviation goals with entrepreneurial zeal, business methods and the courage to innovate and overcome traditional practices. A social entrepreneur, similar to a business entrepreneur, builds strong and sustainable organizations, which are either set up as not-for-profits or companies.

A social entrepreneur is a leader or pragmatic visionary who:

Achieves large scale, systemic and sustainable social change through a new invention, a different approach, a more rigorous application of known technologies or strategies, or a combination of these.

Focuses first and foremost on the social and/or ecological value creation and tries to optimize the financial value creation.

Innovates by finding a new product, a new service, or a new approach to a social problem. 

Continuously refines and adapts approach in response to feedback. 

Combines the characteristics represented by Richard Branson and Mother Teresa.

We’ve worked with two great companies that are mirroring this definition in real terms and making strides in social entrepreneurship around the world: Y-Center, a digital and in-person learning program for creative problem-solving and entrepreneurial thinking in Mozambique and India, and VACID Africa, an ICT-based social enterprise that services agricultural development in Kenya.  Both companies are leading the way in connecting government, education, technology and entrepreneurship in creative ways to alleviate AND enhance social conditions.

It takes a vision, passion and fearlessness to embark on a social entrepreneur’s journey.   Funding and the ability to translate the mission to measurable results and ROI are often a challenge.  Corporate and community partnerships are key.  When you’re able to do this well – as the University of San Diego has been able to with their Social Innovation Challenge – the rewards are amazing, financially and otherwise.

We’re proud to have been part of our clients’ journeys and we look forward to supporting future initiatives with exceptional marketing and partnership strategy!

"Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast"

From Cultural Factors in Web Design by Creative Bloq, 2013

A still relevant article from a great site.

Over the past three years, we’ve been captivated by media queries. Our focus on responsive design has been incredibly successful, especially when you look at statistics saying the majority of web users demand mobile ready sites. I believe that something is still missing. By looking so exclusively at technology and code, we have largely ignored cultural differences and the global mindset necessary in our connected world. We need to start using cultural queries in our designs as a way to adapt content for different groups of people.  Read More...




Marketing 102: Unleashing the genie in the bottle.


Marketing and communications strategy typically requires a very focused, targeted approach, and for good reason.  It's cost-effective, measurable, scaleable, and helps channel the creative sensibilities.  For that reason, most marcomm and ad companies follow a general, agreed-upon script with particular variants in terms of industry focus, target audience, and creative delivery.  But, when you think of the most iconic and everlasting campaigns, the script is very likely thrown out the window.

We think of Just Do It, Where's the Beef?, Rolex, Mac, iPOD Nano and iPhone ads, among a few others.  For anything earlier than 1970, just watch the Mad Men series to get a better idea of brands that made their mark.  These were excellent campaigns -- they transcended gender, age, socioeconomics, culture and borders.  What did their success come down to?  In some cases, it was a catchy phrase, a funny, crazy concept, a relevant (or completely irrelevant) story, or a simple extension of a great, unique product.  Ultimately, they all connected to the spectrum of human emotions -- a sense of thrill, excitement, anxiety, happiness, irritation, exhiliration, adventure, love, youth.  Even a 50 years from now, some college course on the next iteration of advertising will be referring to the Nike or Mac campaigns.  And, likely these ads extended their companies' longevity.

Unleashing the genie in the bottle often it has NOTHING to do with the almighty mantra of marcomm and advertising: demographics.  Yes, it's important, because you need to know who you want to be talking to.  But, it really starts with a great concept, content, and creative.  This is what pushes all that other stuff over the edge.  So, it truly is Don Draper's world, no matter what the Pete Campbell's might say.  You can take all the delivery methods you want -- whether it's billboards or Twitter -- but it's not going to do a damn thing unless you have something really relevant, interesting and impactful to say.  Then, let that genie soar. 



Internationalizing global business.


It's not enough to talk about being global, even though we all do it.  What does it really mean?  That you work in many countries, speak multiple languages, travel the world, or that your company has offices in multiple regions?   All of this is important, but it's process - important process, no doubt.  

In the time that KSW Consulting has provided communications and cultural strategy services, it's been amazing to see how much importance companies large and small place on their regional and national cultures.  We think of the multinational corporation as transcending local and regional customs  -- this was true 20 years ago.  An interesting phenomenon is happening now -- the global is becoming local again.  MNC's, while expanding their global operations, are in fact hiring more locally for their in-country offices.  Local language training is a must.  Business operations and strategy are stratified by region.  So, now, what does it mean to be global?

We think it means providing an insightful understanding of how business gets done in a particular part of the world, but keeping the international market in mind.  It also means delivering ideas and executing programs that are culture specific but still delivering impactful results across borders. At the end of the day, being global means having the ability to connect with people, places, ideas, and help companies of all sizes internationalize their approach to reaching their business objectives.  The global market is interconnected, active, receptive, evolving and profitable.  And, this is just the beginning...