Venture Designing With Niterra
Niterra asked ADG to lead a three-month venture sprint to find and ultimately pilot a $100 million opportunity in mobility.
Established in 1936 in Japan, Niterra, the parent company of NGK Spark Plug, is the number one spark plug and leading automotive and technical ceramic supplier worldwide with a market cap of US$4.26 billion. Today the company is facing an increased emphasis on sustainable operations and the rise of electric vehicles.
To adapt, Niterra has launched venture labs in Santa Clara, Berlin and Toyko. Aesthetic Dimension Group (ADG) partnered with Niterra’s Silicon Valley lab to explore mobility and find a new venture that draws on capabilities with the potential to grow past $100 million in annual revenue.
ADG hosted a Design & Society workshop for Niterra’s Silicon Valley Venture Lab to identify opportunities in mobility with the potential to redefine aspects of contemporary life. Based upon our research, we developed a thesis around connected mobility. We formed a joint team made up of ADG’s talented designers and representatives from the Venture Lab and Niterra’s strategic growth and partnerships team to explore building a venture that could launch in the near future.
ADG led the joint team through a process spanning exploration and discovery, design research, synthesis and solution generation and came up with concepts for four potential ventures. The team identified trends, key criteria and constraints to frame four initial problem spaces: bicycle safety, motorcycle safety, construction, and fleet/freight. Each presented its own compelling opportunity.
For each space, we conducted deep research into driving forces, startups, investment activity, patents and other change indicators. Next, we engaged users and experts from across each problem space to surface pain points, unmet needs and systemic contexts. We concluded that the issues surrounding connected mobility were structural and any transformational ventures must involve restructuring the system.
The team met at the Niterra Venture Lab in Santa Clara to design a handful of 2030 scenarios. Each gave context to how future business opportunities might succeed and how they would exist at scale. We then built roadmaps, exploring how they would look at four and two year time horizons in order to understand what had to be true today for them to succeed. We found the most viable opportunities were in the movement of goods, not people. Our final venture addressed painful clogs in the global supply chain by drawing on Niterra’s logistical expertise.
ADG created a pitch deck for Niterra’s senior leadership that included a business overview, problem, solution (with supporting trends), market size, competition, the product and its business model, financial projections and roadmap. The new venture opportunity was met with enthusiasm and support, particularly from those grappling with supply issues. We also crafted a detailed proposal for how we might pilot this new venture, continuing Niterra and ADG’s partnership.
“ADG responded to our challenge to find big [$100 million plus] opportunities in the mobility space with brilliant analysis, in-depth research and creative application of our capabilities. They have established themselves as a trusted global partner as we create our future.”