[REVIEW]: An Innovative Future – How 100 Years of Innovation Can Prepare Us for Tomorrow’s Challenges

Published on 2015-04-30

On 17 April, for the debut event of the Joint Centenary Celebration series, the BritCham Shanghai and AmCham Shanghai invited Ricardo plc.’s Chairman Terry Morgan CBE and COO Mark Garrett, to share the automotive technology company’s 100 year history.

On the 17th April, for the debut event of the Joint Centenary Celebration series, the British Chamber Shanghai and AmCham Shanghai invited Ricardo plc.’s Chairman Terry Morgan CBE and COO Mark Garrett, to share the automotive technology company’s 100 year history and talk about what has been learnt to prepare us for future challenges to the development of the industry.

Starting with founder Sir Harry Ricardo, Morgan and Garrett explained the company’s forward thinking vision of the automotive industry, as well as the significant contribution the company has made to the development and ongoing evolution of the internal combustion engine helping to make transport accessible for all.

The presentation looked at challenges the company now faces in the light of environmental sustainability, and discussed future innovation based on forecasted economic and environmental predictions that will ultimately affect not only the transport industry, but also all industries.

According to Morgan and Garrett, several megatrends are likely to shape the future of the transport industry in the next century:

  • Population growth 
  • Urbanisation
  • Increased Wealth 
  • Access to information 
  • Environmental awareness
  • Consumerism

These trends will impact the demand for scarce resources resulting in a shift towards the development of new technologies. Overcrowding and congestion in cities may mean an evolution in infrastructure in order to utilise space efficiently; both safety and environmental awareness will lead to regulation on the production of vehicles, resulting in an increase in the need for automated systems and the use of 100% reusable materials in production.

In addition, market trends will be a driving factor in the evolution of the transport industry. Morgan and Garrett predict that next generation consumers will be more connected and have different attitudes to car ownership with a change towards resource ‘sharing’ due to increased demand coupled with greater efficiency in public transport services and the number of transport choices available to consumers.

Morgan and Garrett then discussed difficult questions regarding whether these challenges can genuinely be overcome. If affordable low carbon energy is to be produced, it will require long-term investment, but is this possible without large-scale regulation and market intervention? At the same time, if intervention is needed, is this beyond the capacity of a democratic government? It was finally noted that whilst one can predict innovations in the next century to meet future challenges, whether these can be realistically achieved will ultimately depend on a number of factors including, but not limited, to governance, investment, and skills needed to develop and implement such changes.

View photos from the event>>