Disrupting the car

Part of smart, connected product series

Mohsen Khalkhali


The framework takes you from product to systems thinking, source

Almost ten year ago, I read an article in HBR by Michael Porter (the inventor of Porter’s 5 Forces framework) that is still helping me make investment and business decisions today. It has had a huge impact on my thinking. I’ve used it to build a mindmap of industries of interest to understand where future opportunities might lie.

In short, the framework takes you from product to systems thinking to think about transformations to companies and competition brought about by smart, connected products.

I’ve applied it to the evolution of the phone from a regular device to a smart, connected ecosystem that has encompassed our lives in every imaginable way. I’m applying it to my thinking about the car and how its role is shifting in our lives today. I’m also thinking about how (and if) it will change medical devices to transform healthcare.

Here’s the article if you’d like to read it in full.

Applying The Framework To The Car

Michael Porter’s framework on smart connected products has had a profound impact on the traditional value chain in the car industry. Note that I am not using the automotive industry but using the car as focal point to think about the value chain disruptions. This is why car companies have started using mobility as a service to make sure they stay relevant in the wider discussion.

The framework outlines the concept of smart connected products, referring to products enhanced by embedded sensors, advanced software, and internet connectivity. These products can gather and analyze data, offer personalized user experiences, and enable remote monitoring and control. The integration of these technologies into traditional products transforms the way companies create value, altering the dynamics of competition and reshaping industry structures.

To make things easy, I’ll explore how Tesla, as a major disruptor, has spearheaded this transformation starting with the car.

Disrupting the Car and the Related Value Chain

  1. Research and Development (R&D): Smart connected products have significantly impacted the R&D process in the car industry…