Another Great Year at the Forward with Ford Trend Conference

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by Lori Cunningham


Editor’s Note:  Congratulations to Natalie S. for winning a SANUS VuePoint F180 Large Full-Motion TV Wall Mount, a $90 value.



Forward with Ford 2013 (130)

Bill Ford, great grandson of Henry Ford, talks about Ford’s direction.

Ford invited the WellConnectedMom.com this last week to Detroit, MI for its third annual Trends conference entilted, Go Forward with Ford.  This is our third year (2011, 2012) attending this conference and it’s one we look forward to.  To keep its cars revelant to their customers, Ford identifies and studies trends years before they become mainstream.  They research different industries, cultures, and follow thought leaders to challenge themselves as well as the car industry as a whole.

Forward with Ford 2013 (2)

During the conference, Ford brings in practitioners, corporate mavericks, and thought provokers to speak to the media about these current trends and how they see them playing out in their own professions or in society as a whole.

The trends highlighted during our 2 1/2 days in Detroit were:

  • Sculpting the Future – explaining the story behind meaningful design that draws people in with a powerful story that creates an instant bond.  Designing a vehicle is like telling a story through the sculpting of sheet metal.  It’s this story that makes the different between something that is cherished versus something that is simply a commodity.
  • Disrupting the Drive – the use of wireless connectivity and vehicle sensors to aid the driver in avoiding accidents, distractions, and fatigue.
  • Returning to Your Senses – extending the role of connectivity and shifting the paradigm of automotive safety through research into the well being of the consumer through health and wellness features in the “car that cares.”
  • Trust is the New Black – trust in brands has fallen 50% since 2001.  For companies and institutions, transparency and the ability to create a personal connection to consumers is imperatives for their future success.  Integrity is now a competitive advantage
  • Greentopia – organizations working together to enable more sustainably sourced materials, reduce energy use, and reduce the impact of fossil fuels on the environment.


The speakers were the  best yet, including insights by:

  • Steve Wozniak –  Apple co-founder
  • Seth Godin – best selling author including Linchpin, Tribes, and the Purple Cow
  • Jay Ward – Pixar Animation Studios
  • Rachel Shechtman – creator of Story, a new physical retail marketing experience in Chelsea, NYC
  • Rob Michaleak – Ben & Jerry’s
  • Jenny Lykken – Google
  • Sherry Turkle – Director & founder of the MIT Initiative of Technology & Self
  • Neema Moraveji – runs the Calming Technology Lab at Stanford University


Forward with Ford 2013 (55)

Alan Mulally listens to Steve Wozniak’s take on car technology.

The conference was opened up by Alan Mulally who said something that struck me as very interesting.  He called Ford a mobility provider, not a car company.  Ford has provided individual mobility to people around the globe.  They feel it is all about making peoples’ lives better and easier.  As a mobility company, they will incorporate technology where it makes sense to enable this.

Calling oneself a mobility provider opens up the horizons to so much more than just building cars and it is this mindset that has helped make Ford a leader not only in the sales of cars, but in leading an industry in making safer, greener, more reliable, and more relevant cars.

Stay tuned for further articles from the conference.  We learned some fascinating things about upcoming technology in future cars as well as some of the emotional aspects technology can have on us.




*  I was invited to Ford for the Trends Conference.  All travel and lodging expenses were taken care of by Ford.  All opinions are my own.

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