All posts by Jayson Pankin

Innovation in the Auto Industry- Part 2

pankinJayson D. Pankin is a founder, President, and the Chief Executive Officer of AutoHarvest Foundation. Jayson, in partnership with Dr. David E. Cole and industry leaders, founded AutoHarvest to develop an advanced manufacturing (mobility) intellectual property marketplace and e-collaboration Open Innovation network to accelerate the adoption of innovation. From 2003-2010 he led Delphi Corporation’s commercialization activities targeting spin-outs of potentially disruptive technologies into start-up companies.  For over thirty years, Jayson has been a venture partner specializing in early stage and turnaround situations.  He was named by the Small Business Foundation of Michigan as its “Intrapreneur Extraordinaire” for 2008. He earned his BBA in Accounting and MBA in International Business at the George Washington University


stiefEric Stief is Senior Vice President for AutoHarvest Foundation. Previously, as Director of Venture Development and Technology Principal at Wayne State, he facilitated the creation of start-up companies and the enhancement of campus entrepreneurship. Prior to WSU, as Technology Licensing Manager at Delphi Corporation, he developed and executed strategies to deploy Delphi’s technologies into new sectors.


AutoHarvest- an Innovation Tool

The AutoHarvest Foundation was created to inspire entrepreneurship, form groundbreaking collaborations, foster job creation, strengthen the automotive sector and increase the speed of introduction of new global technologies. Driven by industry leadership, AutoHarvest has the potential to revolutionize how the automotive industry deploys its intellectual property, human capabilities and underutilized assets, and represents potentially a fundamental change in the R&D culture of the automotive industry.  AutoHarvest brings critical elements together as never done before to break down century old industrial silos, network together all sources of innovation and enable deal-making at the speed of e-commerce.  As a secure professional web-driven network for collaboration between corporate and grassroots scientists/inventors, entrepreneurs, automotive corporations, traditional and non-traditional suppliers, universities, venture capitalists, national labs and economic development organizations, AutoHarvest will enable members to freely and securely collaborate and transact critical Intellectual Property (IP), enabling enhanced product development with accelerated innovation.

Why AutoHarvest Foundation?

The AutoHarvest Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3), was founded by long term industry pioneers Dr. David E. Cole and Jayson D. Pankin and joined by top executives from the advanced manufacturing, IT, and technology commercialization arenas. Incubated, in “skunk works” mode, AutoHarvest is located at Wayne State University’s TechTown and the University of Michigan in order to be near a major center of automotive industry R&D activity. AutoHarvest has secured significant support from over 70 global leaders representing all facets of the entire automotive industry ecosystem, including key automotive manufacturers, suppliers, industry trade associations, venture capitalists, universities, research institutions, business incubators, entrepreneurs and national labs. Together, these parties are designing an accelerated innovation model propelled via a secure e-collaboration platform.  Participants will systematically and efficiently communicate technology needs, showcase capabilities and incubate new business opportunities within the traditional automotive value stream and beyond on a significant scale.  Innovation will be fueled by the very best in advanced web 2.0 and 3.0 tools enabling streamlined networking, communicating and sharing over a neutral, safe and active marketplace for technologists and dealmakers.  All of this makes AutoHarvest a true game changing and unique innovation engine.  AutoHarvest brings together for the first time the depth of needs and technologies present in advanced manufacturing from all sources. It also will enable the best in breed e-commerce tools to accelerate transactions and serve as the front door for innovators of all types to participate and accelerate the performance of this important industry.

The AutoHarvest E-collaboration Ecosystem and Marketplace

As of this writing, the AutoHarvest network is currently being designed in an active Beta phase.  The internet collaboration platform is being developed by Ann Arbor based tech company, InfoReady. Representative use cases (e.g. a needs assessment and protected on-line mock-ups of the electronic and business practice solutions) are being developed under guidance of the AutoHarvest Innovation Advisory Council, led by William Coughlin, President and CEO, Ford Global Technologies. As it becomes fully operational, the AutoHarvest user base should encompass 100,000 active engineers, researchers, IP professionals and entrepreneurs collaborating in over 1000 public and private forums across the world, making Detroit-based AutoHarvest the go-to destination for technology and partnering in transportation and beyond.

By detailing public and confidential profiles, technology needs lists and IP inventories, the AutoHarvest platform will allow registered members from both sides of innovation to share previously hidden or unknown information, freely collaborate, transact and rapidly advance technology and product and process innovation in a rules-based marketplace. Using 21st Century tools pioneered by successful firms such as Google, EBay, Facebook, InfoReady and LinkedIn (with business models proven with hundreds of millions of users), AutoHarvest will expose the vast advanced manufacturing technology markets to fellow AutoHarvest members in disparate sized enterprises. Individual entrepreneurs/inventors, traditional suppliers, universities, national labs, economic development agencies, intellectual property professionals and multinational corporations will establish AutoHarvest as their e-collaboration marketplace.  Initially students from Midwestern universities will serve as AutoHarvest Fellows, working with member organizations to embrace all that AutoHarvest has to offer. It will be the meeting place, deal making enabler and professional network for scientists, business managers, lawyers, product development experts, and engineers in the public and private sectors allowing grassroots innovation proven by Open Innovation models from other industries.

The AutoHarvest system will resemble a skyscraper with virtual e-collaboration rooms populated by unlimited virtual storefronts showcasing three main types of merchandising, connecting members who are (i) seeking solutions to their current technology needs; (ii) offering specific solutions to others’ needs; and (iii) seeking to collaborate and develop new technology together.  All use cases are being designed based on end user input, with guidance from leadership at Chrysler Group LLC, 3M, Visteon Corporation, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, several Midwest universities/business incubators and federal labs including Department of Energy (DoE)’s National Renewable Energy Lab and Department of Defense (DoD)’s TARDEC (The Army Research, Development and Engineering Corporation).  By taking the best web-based tools and customizing them for the serious needs of industry AutoHarvest brings these normally disconnected parties together in an automotive grade, always live network to commercially transact IP deals, facilitate global cross-industry federations, and accelerate deeper collaboration in fundamentally new ways at the speeds required to win today.

Collaborations in Place

Not only is AutoHarvest firmly aligned with its core industry base of global automotive manufactures and tier suppliers, but it is also in excellent position to bolster the effectiveness of other efforts to drive economic development and prosperity.  Initially, as detailed below, focus is placed on regional organizations in reasonable proximity to the AutoHarvest team, with intentions of broadening the effort to other regions in the near future. The vision is that AutoHarvest would be totally functional on a global basis.

  • Business incubation programs from across the region, including Detroit’s TechTown, Ann Arbor Spark, Michigan’s NextEnergy and Oakland County’s Automation Alley, are participants in the AutoHarvest interest group and have provided letters of support. All are eager to utilize the network to  help their entrepreneurs identify and partner with the right manufacturing decision makers, license platform technologies to launch new ventures and consequently, create valuable jobs.  The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce is a key supporter of AutoHarvest, and is working with AutoHarvest to support its MichAuto advocacy and supplier diversification programs.
  • Major local and national research institutions, including Wayne State University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Kettering, Michigan Tech, Ohio State University, Clemson University and key Federal Government National Labatories are supporters and stand ready to work with AutoHarvest to further their own research collaborations, technology transfer and venture development.  Most are losing funding due to shrinking federal and state support for basic research; AutoHarvest provides an opportunity for them to gain exposure to market relevant research collaboration opportunities and financial support.
  • Local, national, and international membership organizations such as the Michigan Manufacturer’s Association, The Engineering Society of Detroit, SAE and Canada’s Auto21 and Automotive Parts Manufacturer’s Association , are also supporters and look forward to connecting their membership, representing thousands of engineers, into AutoHarvest,  to help with workforce development, customer diversification, new product development and other activities.  Retirees, students, and professionals in these organizations will be able to find new opportunities for career growth, attracting and keeping the best talent in Michigan.

This will bring automotive technology business development activities from around the world to AutoHarvest and bring business incubation efforts together in new collaborations.

Long term, the AutoHarvest Foundation model, IT platforms and expertise can be further developed to service additional markets, such as medical devices and aerospace.