Mobilize New York and Go Detroit were crowd innovation communities designed to stimulate new ideas to help residents and visitors get around faster and more easily. Over the course of several months, participants were guided along an innovation path that first helped identify universal problems, encourage rough proposals, and leverage the community to expand and improve the ideas to take forward.
The communities generated over 6,000 ideas and contributions from over 1,700 participants. In New York, Ford collaborated with some of the most promising innovators in live prototyping sessions before bringing the ideas back to the community for a vote. The winning teams shared $30,000 (US) in prize money, and conversations are ongoing with several of the finalists about implementing their solutions, with the support of mentors from Ford and transport partners. Identified product and service innovations ranged from an app consolidating major ride-hailing apps, to portable vehicles with mobile power sources.
Go Detroit participants offered solutions for improving access to employment, schools, and healthcare providers, especially in inclement weather; affordable transportation to grocery stores and leisure activities; and easy access to reliable information about mass transit options. Leading ideas were further explored and improved in live sessions with mentors and experts. Winning ideas shared in a pool of $60,000 and were offered on-going support after the challenge to further pursue their concepts. Successful ideas ranged from technology solutions like apps for ride sharing to shuttle services transporting Detroiters to and from work.
Launching Go Detroit was an effective way for the brand to connect with consumers, but it also highlights Ford’s transformation from traditional automaker to innovative, mobility provider offering services, solutions, and programs beyond their conventional business. Programs like Go Detroit and Mobilize New York support their strategic vision and market position.