“The response has been overwhelming, exciting and sincere – we can’t wait to see what’s next.”

Jessica Robinson - Ford Motor Company
A crowd project

Ford: Mobilize New York Challenge.

Sector: Transport

Our brief: How can Ford enable smarter travel options in New York City?

What we did: Mobilize New York is part of Ford’s global City of Tomorrow programme. It is conceived around an innovation competition that seeks ideas from residents, entrepreneurs and visitors to various cities; in New York’s case to reduce overcrowding and enable greater access. Our social listening study provided rich insight enabling us to create a detailed challenge design. We recruited and facilitated an online crowd, hosted by our partners Chaordix. Our city partner, Sam Schwartz Engineering selected expert reviewers and judges. 20 challenge semi-finalists were invited to a prototyping workshop and given mentoring, before 10 finalists pitched their ideas at a Grand Final Event held at the newly opened Ford Hub in New York City.

What happened: An online community of 1200 innovators participated in the challenge, generating between them almost 100 ideas. Successful idea submissions ranged from an app that tracks and rewards users for making ‘smarter’ transit choices, to the installation of charging stations throughout the city for users of mobility devices. The winning teams shared $30,000 (US) in prize money, and conversations are ongoing with several of the finalists about implementing their solutions, with the support of mentors from Ford and transport partners in New York.