I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last few days meeting with colleagues from Banking, Mobile, TV, Gaming and of course Car industries. And I exercised a new skill. I listened.*

Their insight on the shifts in their Industries and the real need for Innovation NOW was very interesting, but I couldn’t tie together some of the things I was hearing enough for them to be useful to me until this article from USA Today popped onto my sushi conveyor belt (more on that theory soon).

The simple line from that article below should be sending shivers through the Automotive industry;

“Quite simply, cars are becoming less important or less accessible to Millennials”.

And one statistic should ring bells in the heads of those that only understand numbers (there are a lot of those running car ‘Brands’).

In America … “Only 24.5% of 16-year-olds had a driver’s license in 2014, down from … 46.2% in 1983”

Plenty of reasons why of course – Social media, Uber, Insurance cost, regulation etc etc. Clearly the new players in the Industry (yes that means Uber, Google, Tesla, Le TV etc) are moving far faster than the ‘old guys’.

But the question is what are they doing about it? Well the old adage about needing to know you have a problem in order to fix it rings true. My colleague in TV tells me that it is only in the last 12 months that TV execs have started to panic about the decline in TV numbers. Worrying if true. And perhaps a reflection of where the old car guys are today.

So what do the old guys need to do? Like me they need to learn to listen.

They need to stop thinking that young adults (I hate the phrase Millennials – sounds like they are never going to grow up and buy cars) are acting like they did when the old guys were young. The Scalectrix car, red Lambo poster and Motorshow brochures are just not going to cut it to drive Brand Love today.

What will? Well we are all just about to find out. And I know where my money is. Quite literally.

* I have also developed something called patience as well recently but thats another story…

Next blog – My Black Box Theory