San Francisco

Audi Innovation Research San Francisco

Audi Innovation Research (AIR) San Francisco applies a customer-centric approach to innovation research and service design to create premium digital experiences. The team focuses on uncovering and addressing customer needs in order to shape Audi’s digital business strategy and project development.

The Audi Innovation Research Office in the USA - AIR San Francisco

Located at the epicenter of global innovation, AIR is uniquely positioned to capture the most disruptive trends and industry breakthroughs straight from the source. By applying a customer-centric and agile working approach within this unique Bay Area landscape, AIR empowers Audi with the necessary tools, mindset and expertise to successfully navigate the rapidly evolving mobility landscape. 

 

San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area has gained recognition as the ‘cradle of innovation’ within the United States, one of Audi’s key markets. There are a number of factors contributing to this region’s snowballing success, including a high concentration of venture capitalists and funding opportunities, synergies between different industries within close proximity and a magnetic effect on top global talent. 

The Team

Larissa Braun

Larissa Braun

Head of Audi Innovation Research San Francisco

 

I have always enjoyed working in innovative topics and thinking outside the box. I love the challenge to identify what’s on the horizon and translate it into action for Audi. In the last couple of years, my main focus has been mobility and how our business model is challenged by new technologies, especially in urban context: in the city, customer behavior is changing fast and in the most disruptive ways. That is one of the reasons why our work at Audi Innovation Research San Francisco is driven by questions regarding digitalization, smart cities and mobility solutions. Our team’s focus is set on innovation research and digital service design. Being located in one of Audi’s key markets, our goal is to explore upcoming trends, understand the specifics of US customer needs and translate them back into tangible outcomes. Core to our work is a human-centered ideation process in order to find, as I call them, the “gold nuggets. How will the car become a mobile device solving customer needs? And what kind of digital services do premium customers expect when it comes to autonomous driving? I believe Silicon Valley is the best place to be in order to find the answers.

At Audi Innovation Research we aim to create digital services which address customer needs, exceed their expectations and thereby foster the relationship with the Audi brand.

Larissa Braun

Nick Brooks

Nick Brooks

Innovation Strategist, UI/UX Designer

 

My eclectic professional background, ranging from graphic design to launching foodservice startups, has empowered me to pull creative inspiration from a diverse range of experiences. I use these experiences to try and put myself in the shoes of our customers (or our potential future customers) in order to understand their interests, goals and pain points. Wherever it is possible to uncover an individual’s unmet need in mobility, there is the possibility for a new service or product that helps to address this; my aim is to discover these unmet customer needs and turn them into exciting new business concepts at Audi. By applying design-thinking tools such as prototyping, journey mapping, and user testing, I am able to help bring these concepts to life.

Wherever it is possible to uncover an individual’s unmet need in mobility, there is the possibility for a new service or product that helps to address this.

Nick Brooks

Sonja Koch

Sonja Koch

Innovation Strategist, Market Analysis

 

As they say in the Silicon Valley, "The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately." Growing up and working in the Bay Area has shown me that innovation has no limits. One must just have the courage and continuous motivation to face a world of "no's" to receive one "yes." With my experience working in tech, energy and the automotive industry, I've learned that success in this environment comes from individuals who are self-starters and willing to take risks to empower new technologies and designs for the greater good within society. Helping the world connect with new products and technologies is a passion of mine and I apply this to my work at AIR by developing networks and programs to ensure customers understand and appreciate the changing industry of transportation. Adept within the electric mobility landscape I focus my market analysis on current and future EV charging initiatives to guide Audi’s development of digital services for the new e-tron series.

Jürgen Kufner

Jürgen Kufner

Senior Innovation Strategist, Business Modeling

 

With an Industrial Engineering background, the interface between technology and business has always fascinated me. Over the last 10 years at Audi, I have been following this passion, working in Brand and Sales Development, Digital Business and now Innovation Management. In this time, I learned that every business model has to be based on a true customer value if it wants to be scalable and successful. Taking this as my guiding principle, I apply a customer-centric approach developing digital services and business models. Steve Jobs once said, "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” During my time at Audi Innovation Research in San Francisco, I’ve come to realize what he meant by this. You can only be successful if you search for innovation and, more importantly, have the courage to implement it.

You can only be successful if you search for innovation and, more importantly, have the courage to implement it.

Jürgen Kufner

Approach and Projects

Within the mobility space, San Francisco presents an especially unique set of opportunities and challenges; dense urban traffic and inconvenience of parking make traditional car ownership increasingly difficult, leading to an explosive growth in ridesharing services, bike shares and even more experimental solutions to mobility. Meanwhile, local governance is uniquely favorable towards disruptive innovation, allowing for greater flexibility and support in the research and development of such emerging technologies.

 

By positioning ourselves in San Francisco, the AIR office is able to stay at the forefront of trends and key developments in technology, business, and mobility.

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