Gogoro – a one billion dollar unicorn from Taiwan that wants to be the Tesla of scooters

You have, probably, never heard on Gogoro. One of Taiwan’s most exciting and innovative startups and the first unicorn (over 1 BN$ market valuation). Well, you should – they are revolutionizing the scooter industry the way Tesla revolutionized the car industry. Gogoro recently rolled out their electric scooter, the Gogoro 2 Smartscooter, and it’s really smart.

Their concept is exciting, and like a two years old company, the results are amazing. Their scooter is well-designed, colorful and electric and above all – smart. It is an emission-free scooter, targeted for the crowded, congested and polluted cities, the challenging reality of most modern big cities.

Gogoro website

An interesting article on Gogoro.

The core idea of the new electric scooter is the battery and the charging station network. As we all know the main challenge of the electric vehicles is the relatively limited traveling distance and the long charging time. Gogoro approached that challenge by innovating together with Panasonic a brand new battery, the Lithium Ion 18650 battery. The depleted batteries can be swapped in a matter of seconds or so, much less time required to refuel your scooter.

Together with the new battery, they have innovated a network of recharging stations used to swap empty batteries with fully charged ones quickly. Instead of plugging in your battery to recharge, you just quickly replace the battery. Riders are offered a monthly subscription fee for that service.

The charging station, like a vending machine, holds four rows of 10 batteries each. They already have 350 charging stations in Taipei (they claim that you can find a station less than every 1.3 km, and plan to add many more charging stations. Those compact stations, like gas stations, can be deployed anywhere. They already started to install the charging stations in many more cities and countries.
If we remember the popularity of this transportation mode in many Asian countries, we can understand the huge potential of Gogoro. They also have plans to extend the usage of their batteries. According to Gogoro, a charged battery at 50% to 75% capacity can power a house for an hour, a laptop for 25 hours, a home furnace for an evening, or server rack with 40 servers for 20 minutes.

Let’s focus shortly on the “smart” elements of Gogoro, the digital technologies they have used for their innovative scooter, a network of charging stations and mobile applications. In many ways, they are less a vehicle company and much more a technology company.

  • There are 30 sensors on the scooter including a digital compass, a shock sensor, and a thermal sensor. The Gogoro Smartscooter can analyze riding patterns, optimize energy use, and dim its lights when necessary to maximize energy. Every 10 minutes, the scooter uploads information on its condition online.
  • Riders can download sound effects and lighting patterns to customize their scooters further. Everything creative and versatile can be done through its smartphone app.
  • Gogoro mobile application enables many functionalities. Some are: where is the closest charging station; where have you parked the scooter; dual dashboard – on the scooter and on the mobile; scooter condition display; 256 bit digitally encrypted and fingerprint authenticated (it makes the scooter almost unstealable) mobile app that reminds when maintenance is needed and helps you schedule an appointment at one of the Gogoro Service Center.
  • Smart scooter power management that maximizes your range by generating energy back into the batteries when slowing down. Digital throttle with Sports Activation that takes riders from 0-50 km/h in 4.3 seconds; SBS braking that delivers simultaneous braking force to the front and rear wheels and automatically balancing stopping force to reduce slips when hard braking or during panic stops, and much more digital innovations.
  • Gogoro uses digital technologies to manage the charging station, quantity of available and charged batteries, allocation of batteries to customers and more.

Gogoro is a great example of a company that uses technology to disrupt the scooter industry. They have augmented the physical product (the scooter) into a smart product by using digital technologies (sensors, fully digital dashboard, mobile applications) and innovating concepts like a new business model (monthly subscription for charging the batteries instead of only selling scooters) and remote management of recharging stations.

We can clearly see how Gogoro used several types of digital transformations, out of the six types we described in our e-book, published in Hebrew on the e-vrit mobile app.

  • From Atoms to Bits: In section 4.0.1 of Chapter 4 of our e-book, we named this kind of digital transformation as “atoms to bits transformation”, a transformation in which some products are entirely replaced by digital products (e.g., CD music, e-books, maps, photos and more) while some products are being digitally augmented (e.g., cars, home appliances, airplanes, and in our case, scooters).
  • From Products to Services: Gogoro transformed a physical product into an ongoing service by using the subscription business model to generate a constant revenue flow from customers for their charging fees.
  • From Business Models to Digital Business Models: Introducing a digital business model to generate revenues, opens up room for more innovative revenue generating models.

Six Questions Your Organization Needs to Address to Thrive in the Digital Era

On May 2018, an interesting new book was published on the exciting topic of digital transformation: “What’s Your Digital Business Model? Six Questions to Help You Build the Next-Generation Enterprise.” The authors are two researchers from MIT’s CISR (Center of Information Systems Research): Prof. Peter Weill and Dr. Stephanie Woerner.

On the innovation@work blog of the MIT Management Executive Education, Prof. Weil presents the six questions, detailed in the book.

Raz Heiferman & Prof. Yesha Sivan present the six questions shortly – issues discussed quite in detail in their Hebrew e-book “Doing Digital.”

Question #1: How big is the digital threat and opportunity? Prof. Weill explains that organizations should ask themselves what percent of revenue would they lose if the organization didn’t change anything in the next five years. MIT CISR recent research showed the average loss of revenue for most companies would be 28%—jumping to 46% for companies in the $7 billion-and-up revenue range. To illustrate, Prof. Weill shared the example of WeChat, a digitized social platform used frequently in China to perform daily activities (like buying food, banking, travel, renting an apartment) and how it’s challenging conventional banks. Prof. Weill pointed out that these types of digitally-born companies are a “massive threat to the financial services industry” and could force the bank to become a commodity back-end service provider while WeChat and others capture the relationship with the customer.

In their e-book Heiferman and Sivan discuss, quite heavily, the risk of disruption and present the concept of Digital Darwinism (Chapter 3). Like in Biology, organizations which are digital immigrants (companies born before the digital era), will face strong competition from companies named digital natives (companies born in the digital era). MIT’s research shows how significant this risk will become if digital immigrants organizations don’t embark quickly on the digital journey and start to transform themselves into digital businesses.

Question #2: Which business model is best for your enterprise? To illustrate this question, Prof. Weill told the Aetna story. The insurance giant has made a strategic, broad shift in its business model, changing from insurance provider to a company that “helps build a healthier world.” Aetna’s goal is to create an Amazon-like experience and become a destination for its customers.

In their e-book Heiferman and Sivan discuss (Chapters 3 and 5) the concept of the need to transform the business models due to the risk of disruption. Chapter 6 in the book “Doing Digital” is fully devoted to the topic of business models, digital business models and business model innovation (BMI). They emphasize the need of organizations to create their future by using digital technologies to rethink their business models and transform them into innovative digital business models suited for the digital era.

Question #3: What is your digital competitive advantage? Prof. Weill posits that there are three sources of competitive advantage: content (what is consumed by customer), experience (how it is packaged), and platform (how it is delivered). To discover its competitive advantage an organization should determine if they are great—relative to all competitors—at one, two, or all three of these capabilities. Prof. Weill adds most companies that were “born” pre-digital may be great at only one of the three and should start digitally transforming that one capability, and then tackle the other two. However, he says, some companies (say who answered 50% or above to question #1) can’t wait and need to act quickly on all three. “The more you need to be world class, the higher the risk for your transformation not working. Or, the more organizational change and partnering you’ll need to do to create a competitive advantage.”

In their e-book Heiferman & Sivan discuss, in Chapter 6, the topic of digital business models and provide a detailed description of the three sources of competitive advantage. This chapter is based on their previous article “Optimizing Your Digital Business Model” published in 2012. Those three new sources of competitive advantage in the digital era should be discussed and extended to meet the customer’s expectations.

Question #4: How do we use the technology we have to connect all of the other technologies? Digital technology is fundamentally about connectivity – linking the customer and the company to meet more of the customer’s needs. For example, providers are battling to become the GoTo source of added value services to the home – whether it is digital lighting, cameras, locks, entertainment, environmental, or all of these together. Weill says the big question is: Who are you going to trust with your data and to help you to manage your home? The goal of these providers is to be the single GoTo entity that manages all the others.

In Chapter 2 of their e-book, Heiferman & Sivan provide examples of some innovative digital technologies that organizations must consider to implement. Some of these technologies can improve the customer experience dramatically (e.g., artificial intelligence, big data analytics, chatbots, RPA, and much more). Organizations must understand that their current digital state (what we call digital transformation 1.0) will not be enough to compete in the new era. They must move to digital transformation 2.0, as explained in Chapter 2.

Question #5: Do you have the crucial capabilities to reinvent your enterprise? Prof. Weill says this is a difficult question to answer and shares the example of DBS, a Singapore-based bank, which has made a remarkable digital transformation. By focusing on the three capabilities in question #3, DBS was able to improve the customer experience significantly and was awarded “the best bank in the world for 2018” by Global Finance magazine. “DBS is becoming digital to the core. It has automated many processes, encouraged and enabled people to innovate, and moved heavily into the cloud.” Prof. Weill says the bank’s goal is to make banking more fun for customers. DBS has made it much easier for customers to conduct business with the bank, saving more than 250 million customer hours and one million employee hours. DBS has also embraced new ways of digitally inspired thinking, including a partnership that offers banking services at cafés throughout India attracting more than 1 million customers in the first year.

In their e-book, Heiferman & Sivan devote Chapter 5 to innovation and they stress the importance of companies to implement innovation as a new organizational skill. The companies have to introduce innovation processes and make sure that innovation becomes part of their DNA. This chapter discusses Design Thinking and Blue Ocean as vehicles to promote innovation.

Question #6: Do you have the leadership to make transformation happen? This is perhaps the most difficult question, says Weill. As an example, he mentions BBVA, a Spanish-based bank that operates globally. By answering and acting on these six questions, the bank has made a massive digital transformation with strong results. Today, it is #1 in customer experience in its eight-core markets and digital accounts for 36% of all products and services sold. Digital transformation requires a strong vision with leadership often making hard decisions. The leaders must get the entire organization, including every person, onboard. Every employee has to play a role in the new digitally transformed enterprise. Most important, they need to feel like part of the team and believe that their contributions matter.

In their e-book, Heiferman & Sivan devoted several chapters to discuss this important issue (Chapters 13, 14 and 15). The question of leadership is one of the most important questions and challenges of digital transformation. There is no one model of who should lead the journey and what are her or his skills and characteristics. At the end of the day, the transformation challenge is an issue of people and not a technological one. The examples given by Prof. Weill are indeed examples of organizations that the CEOs understood the challenge and the importance and were heavily involved in defining the vision, leading the journey and making sure that this transformation is one of the most critical challenges of the organization for future success. And they did it! DBS and BBVA are a showcase of digital transformation.

We hope that your organization understands the above six questions and have the right answers. Good luck!

Prof. Yesha Sivan Interview on the Six Digital Transformations Framework for WalkMe

Prof. Yesha Sivan, the Founder and CEO of i8 Ventures, was interviewed by
Amir Farhi, WalkMe VP of Strategic Development. WalkMe develops and promotes the concept and platform named DAP – Digital Adoption Platform.

WalkMe pioneered the concept of DAP to simplify user experiences by combining insights, guidance, and automation capabilities.

In the interview, Prof. Sivan focuses on 6 digital transformations that each and every manager in the digital era should master and understand. The
framework divides the 6 transformations into two categories: Internal
(transformations that affect the products and the services an organization
provides to its customers) and External (transformations that affect the organizations’ strategy, business models, and is even disrupting the industry).

Below is the link to the interview: video and description of the framework.

The full details of the six transformations framework can be found in the article “Digital Leader: Master of Six Digital Transformations” authored by Prof. Yesha Sivan and Raz Heiferman, published by Cutter Consortium, on the Business Technology Strategies journal Vol. 12, No. 2, September 2014. The link to the article can be found in the interview.

Chapter 4 in our Hebrew e-book “Doing Digital&quot” published on “e-vrit” platform https://bit.ly/2odl5th contains a detailed description of the six digital transformations framework.

A New Study by PWC Strategy& on Digital Champions in Operations

Strategy&, the strategy division of PWC has published recently a new global study “Global Digital Operations Study 2018 – Digital Champions”. This new study is focused on understanding how companies and their leaders have built an integrated ecosystem to provide value to customers based on end-to-end solutions. The study is focused on the industrial sector but can provide inspiration and guidelines to many other business sectors.

The integrated digital industrial concept, named Industry 4.0 (or Industrie 4.0 in Germany, one of the leading countries that promote this concept,) deals with the adoption of digital technologies and how they affect the processes and products in the industrial sector. As we can see, these technologies have a profound impact on all the related processes – product design, supply chain, production and operation processes, customer delivery, accounting, and invoicing processes. The digital technologies are now embedded directly into the product, augmenting it into a physical-digital product. These technologies are the foundation for new innovative business models.

We are now in the stage of transforming from the Digital 3.0, which was focused mainly on automation and the single machine view, to the Industry 4.0 concept which has a much broader view, a systemic view. Industry 4.0 is focused on digitalization of end-to-end processes, integrating the different parts of the human and machine automation, data collection from all the processes, and using that data to support real-time decision processes while providing new and exciting customer experiences. Industry 4.0 is the realization of the digital transformation of the industrial sector.

Industry 4.0 requires deep collaboration between all the stakeholders, executive management commitment, a clear business strategy for the digital era, and more. Companies that don’t understand this deep paradigm shift will, probably, face the risk of disruption.

For the study, PWC Strategy& experts have interviewed and met 1,100 executive managers of leading industrial global companies. The study was focused on understanding their point of view on the Industry 4.0 concept and implementation. One of the main findings of the study was that there are quite a few companies that have fully adopted and implemented the Industry 4.0 concept. They deserve the title of Digital Champions. The study found that the Digital Champions excel in four categories: Customer Solutions; Operations; Technology; People. They have successfully developed four ecosystems to support each of those areas.

The link to this interesting study.

In our e-book “Doing Digital”, published on the E-vrit application (desktop and mobile), we refer in Chapter 8, paragraph 8.2, to the seven sectors that most probably will face disruption in the coming years. We quote a previous PWC Strategy& study, named “Seven Surprising Disruptions” and present the industrial sector as a candidate for disruption if companies will not adopt the Industry 4.0 concept. Leading industrial companies like Philips, Siemens, GE, and others have already adopted that concept.

To our book: Doing Digital

We recommend all industrial companies to start their digital transformation as soon as possible. If not, they are taking the risk of being disrupted and being too late to recover.

Who Should Lead the Digital Transformation?

Prof. Gerald Kane, a professor of Information Systems at Boston College, published an interesting post in the MIT Sloan Management Review blog on August 2018. The blog deals with the question who should lead the challenging journey of digital transformation.

The post is based on a large research with 4,300 participants that asked managers, executives and analysts " Which functional area is primarily leading your company’s digital progress?" The researchers observed that digital transformation is more of an organizational and managerial challenge than it is a technological one. As organizations mature, they are less likely to report that IT leads this digital progress; 23% of respondents at early-stage companies name IT as the primary leader of digitalization efforts, versus 16% at maturing companies. When digital progress is led by technologists,
companies often end up with glittering technologies that either go unused or fail to meet the business’s objectives.


The findings of the research are summarized in the above table. One may see clearly that as the organization matures regarding its digital transformation, the CEO's or their office takes the lead. 41% of maturing organizations report that the CEO's office is leading the transformation.

Following are the links to Prof. Kane’s blog and to the full research

In our e-book (Hebrew) “Doing Digital&quot” you can find in chapter 10 our discussion on digital maturity and in chapters 13 and 14 our discussion on who should lead this strategic transformation.
Following is the link to our e-book