This year’s Drivers of Change award winners come from Bumper, Ford Europe and Immense Simulations
Autocar’s Drivers of Change initiative highlights the best of the bright and original thinking in the industry
I am happy to report that, as the automotive and mobility industry transforms itself before our eyes, there are some outstanding innovators and problem solvers in the forefront of the changes.
How do I know? Because for the past three years my company, Ennis & Co, has had the privilege of partnering with Autocar to deliver Drivers of Change – a UK-wide competition sponsored by leading automotive brands that showcases the brightest and most original thinkers in the industry across three key categories of transformation: digital; diversity and inclusion; and retail.
This year, the judges agreed that the quality of the finalists was stronger than ever, so big congratulations are due to three category winners, who were announced at the recent Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) annual dinner: Carl Goves (Immense Simulations), Darren Coan (Ford Europe) and Jack Allan (Bumper).
Well done, too, to those who just missed out on the top prizes.
What impressed me most about the winning trio was how plugged in they are to current needs – none more so than Allan and his fintech start-up, Bumper.
The company has responded to the cost of living crisis with a clever solution that enables customers to split the cost of car servicing and repair into interest-free payments. For this, Bumper earns a fee from the 3000-plus repairers on its books, including 2500 franchised dealers.
Goves, who has a background as a mathematician and transport planning engineer, is working on the cutting edge of future mobility planning in a world where intelligent vehicles communicate with traffic infrastructure to improve traffic flow.
The company he co-founded, Immense, has developed a simulator where transport planners can interact with vehicle developments, fleet managers and policy markers to test solutions before transferring them to city streets.
Coan’s prize in the diversity and inclusion category is a recognition of his sheer passion for championing the benefits of hiring people with disabilities – a role he performs alongside his day job in the IT department of Ford Europe. He chairs the Ford Disability Group and last year led Ford’s PurpleLightUp day – a global celebration of employees with disabilities.
The great joy of being involved in Drivers of Change is the opportunity to shout about the excellent work going on in the automotive and mobility industry.
This is something the sector is not always very good at – a fact brought home by the research paper my company published this summer to analyse the skill shortages being faced across the industry, from R&D to manufacturing to retail.
Faced with an acute recruitment crisis, one CEO after another spoke of the need for the industry to sell itself better – to bang the drum about the technological transformation taking place and the exciting career opportunities on offer in areas such as IT, data and electrical engineering.
The talent is most definitely out there, even if the sector tends to hide its light under a bushel. Thanks to Drivers of Change, and the sponsors who support it, we can feel a little more confident about the future.
Lynda Ennis, founder of global automotive and mobility executive search company Ennis & Co