Creativity is also stimulated through a variety of external channels, such as customer interaction and open innovation networks.
Along with other methods, Chrysler Group guides and supports open innovation through participation and leadership on the Autoharvest Innovation Advisory Council. Autoharvest is an industry-inspired open innovation collective and online space that spurs advancement through collaboration, partnership and knowledge sharing among academic, automotive and other associated technical markets.
Customers are also involved in an ongoing way in the process for generating ideas. Here the objective is to understand emerging expectations, constantly improve products on the market and, in general, draw out new ideas to steer future product development. To this end, a variety of communication channels are in place between the company and customers, such as the Giulietta Top Care program run by Fiat Group Automobiles. Designed for the launch of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, the project involved about 2,000 customers in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and the UK and ran from January 2011 to January 2012. Customers participating in the initiative were contacted at three different stages over the first year of vehicle use to collect their comments and assessments. The feedback is being studied jointly by the Customer Care, Quality and Product departments in order to identify potential improvements, measure the effectiveness of on-board instruments and take a proactive approach to managing any customer complaints received. The goal is to enhance the current model and steer new product development.