INNOVATION POLICY AND INNOVATION MANAGEMENT
The development of an innovative product that will be widely accepted on the market is not just a question of creating innovative ideas and providing suitable functionality but also of good timing. In the last years we have seen a substantial increase in interest into e-mobility and many producers have already recognized and ventured into this niche with high rewards. E-bikes are also an emerging product in this field, which have gained a lot of interest in the last years, and are becoming widely demanded globally. Being involved in the R&D process of a similar product, namely a central drive e-bike, in collaboration with several industrial partners we have gained deep insight into the challenges of entering a by now fairly mature market with a new, high quality and competitive product. The development methodology was first based on a thorough benchmarking process and the elaboration of a functional structure that precisely describes the technical problem. This way we could identify the main functions that such a product has to fulfil and pinpoint the areas and technologies that proved to be the most critical in achieving a robust and safe system. Following the so called golden loop approach we could implement a systematical design process, where the key functional requirements could be successfully fulfilled, enabling the formation of a fully operative technical system. We focus here especially on the mechanical part of the product, i.e. the drive system and housing as this was also found to be the most challenging part of the whole development process. Due to the very demanding requirements put forth by the customer many severe challenges emerged, which could only be solved by a structured development methodology and very coordinate iterative process between all the partners. Several cues can be outlined from the experience we gained, that can serve as a guideline for the development of competitive emobility products.