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The Critical Friend

Critical Friend

Building partnerships is the key to my successful 17 years of working in the business consultancy arena. Every project I have worked on has been one of partnership where all parties look for a mutual win-win outcome.

Probably one of the most innovative projects I have personally worked on in the last 17 years was the design, development and deployment of Audi Cam where we, thebigteam, took the ‘concept’ all the way through to its realisation and beyond, through a number of iterations of development. And today, technicians videoing and sharing health checks for premium brands is the industry standard, not just in the UK, but increasingly, globally.

Audi had the vision and, in us, the confidence to do something no one else had done.

When we first started on the journey people said that you could never have Technicians talking to customers … What about the language? Customers won’t understand them. Can we trust them? People’s pre-conceptions and lack of desire to explore, try and learn would have stopped most in their tracks, but Audi had the vision, the autonomy and the bottle to ignore the doubters. They had confidence in their idea, confidence in us as their trusted delivery partner, and faith in their Audi Centres and their technicians.

Both they and their retailers have been rewarded many times over since AudiCam’s deployment, and now most automotive aftersales technology companies have a version of their own in the marketplace.

For us, it was a project where the brief was short and there were few, if any, constraints except for a defined budget. Our instruction was to take the concept, create a prototype, try it out; LEARN, EVOLVE, ADAPT, and deploy ….and the result was 121 Audi Centres engaged and using AudiCam.

The success, in our view, was the relationship we had with the Audi UK team, it was one of mutual respect and trust. The team saw us as their critical friend, not as a sub-servant ‘supplier’ following an overly wordy and jargon-riddled ‘contract’ that does nothing but drive self-interest and mistrust. The relationship was the fuel that delivered the success.

AudiCam was a great project and highlights what can really be achieved with a desire to innovate, an appetite to challenge convention, and where all parties work in true partnership founded on trust.