Connectivity and User Experience
Anya Ernest, 45
Business design and exploration, Polestar
TITLE: Business design and exploration
BASED: Gothenburg, Sweden
Anya Ernest is a relative newcomer to the automotive industry, having spent most of her career in digital design and communication. She has worked as a freelance teacher and researcher, and has published papers on customer journey and value creation. She worked in furniture retail, as an interactive concept developer, in 2013-14. From 2016-18, Ernest was a researcher in service design at RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden) and from 2018-20 at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. Ernest, who holds a master’s in interaction design and technologies from Chalmers, joined Polestar in 2018 in service design. She now specializes in business design and exploration at the automaker.
REASON FOR WINNING
The Polestar brand has been spun off from Volvo Cars as an challenger to Tesla. Beyond it full-electric powertrain, the new Polestar 2 seeks to differentiate itself with "future-proof" software and an infotainment system built around an embedded Google Android operating system. Anya Ernest, an explorative design specialist, and her team have opened up the Polestar 2 to app developers, who can create an unlimited amount of new content for the car using Android Automotive OS as a platform. It's up to the cars' owners to pick the apps that interest them.
By giving up this control, it now takes just days for new content to be added to the car, compared with months or years for many other vehicles' infotainment systems. "Traditionally, we tried to close the system and not allow anybody in, but now what we want to do is open it up," she says. "We at Polestar don't have to be involved at all."