How GM’s Silicon Valley office hunts for relevant innovations and connects to HQ

frankie-gmFrankie James describes the volume of innovation happening in Silicon Valley in 2014 as a “firehose.” So how does she look for promising ideas and technologies that might deliver value for her employer, General Motors? James, managing director of GM’s Advanced Technology Silicon Valley Office (ATSVO), spoke to Innovation Leader about the four-stage process her team uses, and shared a graphic. (James will be one of the conversation leaders at our next Field Study gathering, Oct 22 & 23.)

“Our mission,” James says, “is to face the Silicon Valley firehose, try to filter it down, and get the most promising ideas and technologies back to our internal customers at GM, and ideally get them into vehicles.” The small team, created in 2007, is about half people with GM experience, and half outside hires. They often collaborate with GM Ventures, looking for potential investment opportunities and helping with due diligence, and also interact with local universities. But the main assignment is identifying high-potential startups and technologies for GM’s research and engineering divisions. GM’s Advanced Technology Silicon Valley Office is located in Palo Alto, less than two miles from the campus of Stanford University. The team is situated within GM’s research and development organization.

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