Crowdfunding generally involves a group of people – the “crowd” – who contribute money to fund implementation of a new idea. The costs are shared between the various stakeholders. The unique feature of the internal crowdfunding tool at Audi is that the financial support is based on the regular department budget, which is explicitly approved by the relevant superior. During the trial phase, all employees at AUDI AG locations in Germany have had the opportunity to suggest innovative and work-related project ideas, share them with their colleagues, discuss them virtually and, ultimately, to co-finance them.
“Audi Crowdfunding brings creative employees from a wide range of areas together with internal investors so they can implement bold ideas as a team. We are using this visionary work method to foster the initiative of our employees while also strengthening the team spirit within the company,” emphasizes Frank Loydl, Head of Audi IT and Chief Information Officer (CIO). Good ideas get the resources they need, collaboration is made faster, more transparent and more effective, Loydl says.
Several successful projects have already been achieved through Audi Crowdfunding. This includes a consistent concept for communicating with promising young talent, aimed at making the brand a tangible experience for kids between the ages of three and twelve years. The focal point is the charming character “ADUI,” a small, two-dimensional robot. About 20 different departments from various areas supported financing of an agency pitch and a style guide via the crowdfunding platform. ADUI made his debut last month during the Audi e-tron experience tour at Munich Airport.
In another project, multiple departments financed the development of the first Audi chatbot. Interested students can now ask a virtual assistant questions they have about training and internships at Audi. The test version has been online since the beginning of the year (www.bepart.audi).
The new platform also boosts efficiency within the company: It was no longer necessary to develop a technical tool, since a similar tool was already available in another department. A good example of the way crowdfunding fosters the sharing of knowledge within the company and can prevent duplication of effort.
A team of the Audi Production Lab and Audi Employee IT developed the beta version of the crowdfunding platform. After the successful completion of the test phase, a decision will be made this year about establishing Audi Crowdfunding as an integral part of fostering innovation alongside the existing and proven collaboration programs at Audi.