XNode Executive Roundtable|Human-Centered Innovation

August 4, 2021
Innovation Updates

XNode News

XNode Executive Roundtable|Human-Centered Innovation

On July 6, XNode brought together 30 executives from Fortune 500 automotive companies at our Innovation Executive Roundtable: Best Practices in Human-Centered Innovation. The evening featured a keynote speech, an interactive panel discussion with industry leaders, and opportunities to connect with peers as we shared learnings and explored together the future of automotive innovation strategy and client experience design.


Shen Liu, Founder, circle collective

Shen is a passionate entrepreneur with deep knowledge of the China market, coupled with a global perspective. Shen has rich experience in leading multi-disciplinary design teams and advising clients on setting up creative capabilities and enabling innovation, with a particular focus on consumer technology, automotive, mobility, and home ecosystem. Enthused in crossing over business, design technology, Shen is currently dedicated to building circle collective, a global innovation studio. Formerly, Shen was in charge of Strategic Partnering for BMW Group Designworks, which not only provides design for all BMW car brands but also serves external clients across industries.

Junyi Zhang, Global Partner, Oliver Wyman

Junyi has over 18 years of experience in investment management and management consulting in the automotive industry. Prior to Oliver Wyman, Junyi was Executive member of Ping An Group, COO/CSO of smart enterprise, founding and managing partner at NIO Capital, responsible for the fund's investments in the automotive industry chain, and connected vehicles and mobility. As a former Global Partner and the Head of Automotive Industry at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, he was in charge of all businesses related to whole vehicles, automotive component suppliers, innovation products and technology engineering, electric vehicles and investor support in Greater China.

Lei Teng, Co-Founder, ARK Federation

Lei has nearly 20 years of experience in user experience, business strategy and product innovation. Before ARK, Lei worked as Senior Designer at Microsoft and became the Lead Designer of Microsoft Office for Mac 2011. He was also the Chief Experience Officer of ZEALER NEXT NEST Innovation Project and the Director of "Google Sprint Work Method" at 890 New Business. Additionally, Lei won on the Top 10 Outstanding Young Creatives Award authorized by Guanghua Longteng Foundation.

Keynote Speech: Best Practices inHuman-Centered Innovation

Shen Liu, Founder, circle collective

Our Keynote Speaker Shen Liu, the Founder of circle collective, pinpointed the needs to understand the correlation among human, object and space, and discover what is changing in people’s attitude and mindset, and our lifestyle and environment. Human-Centered Innovation has to matter to the users and the people, and fulfill their functional, social, experiential, psychological and emotional needs. The format of such innovation should also be diverse and must provide values, highlighting the three parameters: For whom, when and how.

She mentioned that car, as a third space, has opened multiple directions, possibilities, and dimensions for people to explore, especially after the pandemic. “People’s desire for nature and longing for sustainable living is never ending – They have defined our new psychological needs. For this direction, we need to re-explore the spatial use, display, and the user experience of cars.”

“Finding a sweet spot between tech advancement and human adaptability is the key to successful innovation. Explainability is instrumental.”

“Future proof your brands, products, and services by getting close to people that matter to you.”

Panel Discussion: Opportunities and Challenges in Automotive Innovation

Our Roundtable also featured a panel discussion joined by Junyi Zhang from Oliver Wyman, Lei Teng from ARK Design, and the Keynote Speaker, Shen Liu, moderated by Luuk Eliens, the Chief Commercial Officer of XNode. Their conservation centered around megatrends in China’s automotive industry, in-house capabilities which OEMs need to build, and the future of mobility experience.

Megatrends in Today’s Automotive Industry
Junyi Zhang

“M.A.D.E (Mobility, Autonomous Driving, Digitalization, Electrification) has pinpointed the recent megatrends we are witnessing in the automotive industry here in China: These trends have influenced not only on the technical design, but have also rapidly put a strong emphasis on the user experience design. Currently we still lack initiatives around hard tech innovation, but we have competencies and are leading in small, new technical innovation, especially in the human-machine interface field. In just 3-5 years’ time, all these changes will happen quickly, and we will see more ‘fantastic’ cars.”  

OEMs & Customers
Shen Liu

“Traditionally in the past, OEMs almost never paid much attention to the end users. They manufactured machines that were shipped to the market. We just sold them through dealers. Nowadays, the customers are looking into not only the cars, but also what types of experience. Given the significant changes in our demographic structure, the OEMs have targeted customers’ real needs and demands. Therefore, there is no one single customer persona that can represents all customers, because it has been further diversified and specified in each segment. Therefore, there are multiple parallel personas existing.”  

Higher Requirements for Our Car Systems
Lei Teng

“From the perspective of the car industry, we need to investigate further on the relationship between the system and the service, especially leveraging the knowledge we learn from the mobile Internet service industry. Nowadays, when people purchase a car, they put forward higher requirements. Therefore, we need to develop a car system that can support the functions that were deemed ‘unavailable’ in the past. The architecture of our next-level system must be capable of delivering the services that can tackle the real pain points of end users.”

The purpose of XNode’s Innovation Roundtable series is to facilitate knowledge and experience sharing among executives from leading firms, and to provide a valuable source of inspiration to help corporates incentivize innovation.

XNode is working relentlessly to drive corporate innovation in the automotive sector.

Get in touch with us today to discuss industry best-practices!

Email: wilkey.rong@thexnode.com