New Article on Porsche's Innovation Calculus

Shamiyeh explains why the Viennese Lohnerwerke and Austro Daimler were so conducive to the genesis of the innovator.

Much has been said about the oeuvre of Prof. Dr. hc. Ferdinand Porsche. A wealth of biographies and documentaries on his work have shed light on his technical achievements and offered a meticulous portrayal of his life. But the development of his personal innovativeness has at times only been sparingly explored. Discussions of this topic in literature are limited to brief comments mostly about the special role of practical aspects in Porsche's creative work. One subject that is hardly ever discussed was his talent for choosing the right employer, where he very skillfully secured the freedom needed to develop new ideas, which ultimately laid the foundation for his worldwide fame as a technical genius. Leading Austrian companies played a central role here.

The following article attempts to close this gap. The companies that Ferdinand Porsche joined before self-employment at the age of 55 all share one highly specific entrepreneurial scenario: they were all more or less forced to finance Porsche's experiments with new ideas because they were in urgent need of entirely new products — either to substitute their products with something radically new in the years to come, thus forestalling foreseeable sales difficulties, or to establish themselves as relatively young companies on a rapidly growing market. In other words, Ferdinand Porsche understood how to leverage the precarious situation of an enterprise for his own goals and interests with far-reaching vision.