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House of Progress: Innovation and Performance

House of Progress: Innovation and Performance

As we drive toward a future of electric cars, performance becomes a key focus on everyone’s mind. How can we improve electrified vehicles? How do we make our cars go further? How do we make the batteries last longer? Continuing our House of Progress, four expert panelists met in Montreal for the Canadian panel to discuss how we can shape a sustainable world without compromising performance. From their deliberation, one thing was certain, teamwork is the key that drives innovation and performance forward.

Decorated Olympian Marnie McBean, world renowned astronaut, author, military pilot and engineer Chris Hatfield, racing Queen Valerie Limoges and Automotive Designer Jason Battersby. Battersby is an acclaimed designer who played a key role in crafting the Grandsphere, the latest electric vehicle to the Audi fleet.

The four experts each briefly described how they got to where they are today, from a spark of a big dream and the steps that led them forward to reach their dreams. Common themes across all answers were resilience, adapting creatively, teamwork and having a concrete plan in order to achieve their goals.

Technology is always changing. So how do you continue to improve upon performance? According to Valerie, its all about teamwork.

“In racing, I have to rely on not only me but the car and the mechanics,” she explained, “everything counts on the racetrack.” In order to shave fractions of a second off her time, teamwork, collaboration and faith in the plan are key. Small changes can make huge differences and the road to trying to do better never ends.

“Design is the same, you’re never alone on the team,” Jason agreed, “There are always key members you know have done it many more times than [you] so you take feedback and readjust, especially when it comes to creativity.”

For Chris, he applied the idea of performance and teamwork to his time as an astronaut, citing mission control as a crucial aspect to the job. “All people have a huge responsibility and vested interest in what’s happening” he stressed, “How I approach it is, how are we all going to win? How are we going to move this thing forward so we all win today? Or win this week? How can we reach a new level of science experiments or complete a problem?” With such huge responsibility and high stakes, every team member relies on each other. “How can I give each of my crew members a clear enough definition of success and the skills that they need to make sure that each of us can do our part?” he pondered.

What role does innovation play when it comes to performance? For the panelists, the adventure of improving performance never ends. “Racecars improve with every series” Valerie explained, “They always try to find what needs to be done to improve performance.”

For Chris, the ongoing search for advancement can lead you to achievements and discoveries that were once thought to not be possible. “All we [have] to do is imagine something audacious, challenge ourselves with something crazy and then organize,” he explains, “Without that challenge, progress is not going to happen. You have to realize there is more than we’re doing today and know we can do differently. That leads to change and performance.” In order to emphasize how important innovation is to improving performance, allowing you to do things that once seemed impossible, Chris pulled from his firsthand space experience. “We can get together and build a thing that now collectively we can put out into the darkness of space” he said, “And it is turning, and not only showing us beautiful pictures from space, but using the Canadian system that points it and another Canadian built sensor, it has spotted and looked at a planet that is orbiting another star.”

Marnie described performance in terms of the human body. As an Olympic athlete, Marnie knows how many different aspects come together that can not only affect performance, but improve it. Sleep, nutrition, and more allow you to train harder and see better results. “It’s a whole team,” she suggested, agreeing with the others strong emphasis on teamwork.

We are heading into a new and exciting future of electric vehicles. Through teamwork, feedback and creative inspiration, we will continue to push the limits of performance and drive innovation forward.

You can see four panelists discuss innovation and performance in Canada’s first House of Progress Design panel below.

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