The Rally Fighter by Local Motors. Image via SiemensPLM

Collaborative innovation is the name of the game and both Seimens PLM and Dassualt are knocking at the door of co-creating possibility. Except it’s less possibility and more actuality. This week both companies have revealed their plans to take collaboration to another a place where you can snuggle up with like-minded people via the warm glow of the web browser to develop ideas. Dassualt dished out their dreams at the Dassault Systemes Customer Conference (DSCC). Friday, Siemens PLM has their big announcement about a collaborative engineering effort with Local Motors, with whom they recently formed a Partnership for a “Revolutionary Crowdsourcing Design Approach.” Here’s how it all breaks down.

Siemens and Local Motors

Stitching it all together from the disparate source that is the Internet, we have the following…

From the Siemens PLM press release on the partenership with Local Motors:
“…Jay Rogers, president, CEO and Co-Founder, Local Motors. “We looked at several different options and unanimously determined that Siemens PLM Software and their Solid Edge application were an excellent fit. Solid Edge is easy to learn and use and its unique synchronous technology feature enables our design community to more intuitively realize design intent and more seamlessly share 3D geometry data with other CAD software.”

From Scott Wertel’s Blog:
“Jay [Rogers, LOcal Motos CEO and Co-Founder] spoke about how the Local Motors community has grown and now it is time to get more tools into the hands of the community. I’m guessing he means design or visualization tools. And in his words, quoted again by Mark Burhop, design tools for the cost of a dinner.”

From the Siemens PLM Blog:
“Here is where it gets interesting. Local Motors will now be providing tools to the community to better help the members working in all these areas. They have partnered with companies like Siemens PLM Software, Method Race Wheels, Shell (for a new competition) and Snap-On Tools. For the Siemens part Jay wasn’t giving out all the details just yet (you will have to wait for 11/11/11) but I don’t think they will be asking their community members to put out $10000 for a seat of Solid Edge software. It’s also not just about CAD. Local Motors and Siemens PLM have other goodies we have been working on together.”

And Karsten Newbury of Siemens PLM from Twitter:

All of this develops after the Siemens PLM release in May 2011 of the Solid Edge and Femap Ecosystem in which the CADENAS GmbH parts management system, PARTsolutions, is one of the first Partner Solutions. So, with Local Motors community and with Simens PLM Solid Edge parts library, the upcoming announcement is stacking up to be something of a collaborative parts-based engineering community of sorts. Perhaps with a scaled down (or free to use student) version of Solid Edge that community members can use in the collaboration of the Local Motors initiatives?

Dassault and 3DVia

Siemens isn’t the only one chomping at the collaborative community bit. There big focus at this week’s Dassault Systemes Customer Conference (DSCC) was Collaborative Innovation, going as far as to have a website dedicated to posting about it and all the other variations of Innovation. For Dassault, collaboration is being explored via their 3DVIA Community and their 3DSwym Social platform. Their plans are not so evident and it’s not clear how they’re bringing the two community platforms together, but they’re there… and that’s about it.

Collaborative Innovation

How do you really harness collaborative innovation in a community? It’s more than using fancy words like ‘collaborative innovation’ to describe it, that is for sure. Local Motors has a strong focus on their users, on the process. They know what works, how to get a product to market with the help of that community. It’s possible a parts platform and dedicated software may help them extend their reach into the collaborative engineering realm, but what they’ve done to this point is what has made them successful. Dassault’s 3DVIA community is also strong, but has a vested interest over the software that keep the models flowing through the 3DVIA life line. This can bring a focus towards, how can we get the community to use our software, instead of how can we help our community develop their ideas with the software they desire. Could Local Motors be heading the same direction with their community by using a single supported software?


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.