It is in the genes of the brand to place so much emphasis on design and technology when pursuing innovation. Beyond its products, Audi applies innovation to all aspects of its business and Volker Kaese, the firm’s head of innovation management, is responsible for predicting what we as humans will require from Audi 20, 30 and 40 years from now.
Volker Kaese is head of innovation management at Audi. When you walk into his office, the first thing you notice are Post-it notes covering an entire wall and the back of his door. “That takes us all the way to 2040,” he says with a smile. Charged with predicting the future of mobility and how this will impact on the way we drive ourselves, or be driven as the case may be, Kaese is best placed to explain the concept of innovation.
“There are two ways to define innovation,” he says. “First, it is an evolution from the past – you have created something and you can do it better. Second, it is something you have never seen before and you need to have it because it fully blows your mind. These are the radical innovations that I’m responsible for at Audi.”
“Innovation is something you have never seen before and you need to have it”
So what are the Audi innovations of tomorrow? The company sees the future of personal premium mobility represented across three key areas. “To begin, you have something we call first-class travel, where you define the car from the inside as a living space and build the driving features around that,” he explains. “Then you have connectivity where you can reach out from yourself to the car and from the car to other cars. Finally, you have sustainability that is built into everything in a premium way.”