The Power of Partnership

By Steffen Hoffman, President at Robert Bosch UK
Published 13 December 2017


Times are changing. And so is the way that Bosch does business.

The emergence of the Internet of Things is having a transformative effect on just about every industry – from automotive to agriculture, medical to mining. Disruptive technologies and business models can seemingly appear out of nowhere, re-shaping sectors in the blink of an eye.

The rapid pace of digital transformation means that it has never been more important to manage change and its impact on an organisation’s people and culture.

That’s something we are acutely aware of here at Bosch, as we’ve looked to become leaner, faster and more agile to react to the opportunities that IoT affords.

We’ve needed to become less conservative, and to establish a culture that encourages innovation. We want our associates to think big and to take a chance. If an idea doesn’t fly, then don’t worry, try something new. Fear of failure mustn’t hold people back.

New partnerships, new opportunities

The change of mindset is also represented by a new spirit of collaboration at Bosch. To succeed in the fast-moving world of IoT, companies need to focus on what they do best, while making the most of external knowledge and skills. No single outfit can lay claim to be an expert in every aspect of IoT, so organisations need to form alliances to achieve their aims. Earlier this year, for example, Bosch announced a collaboration with IBM to develop new options for industrial IoT.

In the domestic environment, meanwhile, we’ve forged links with world-leading companies such as Amazon and Philips Hue to provide a range of connected solutions for the home that are making lives simpler, safer and more convenient.

Internally, also, we’ve fostered a new spirit of partnership by establishing a number of vibrant start-up firms whose technology and skills are helping to bring IoT to life. One of these companies is Deepfield Robotics, a start-up based in Renningen, Germany, which is developing high-precision ground sensors and autonomous machines for smart farming. Here, small teams are working together to address agriculture challenges – such as maximising the crop yield of seasonal fruit and vegetables and improving harvesting techniques. With global population growth amounting to around 83 million people annually, it is crucial that we develop innovative farming technologies to meet increasing demand for food.

In each of these examples, people and businesses are benefiting from the power of partnership. This new approach of working flexibly and co-actively with a diverse pool of people with varying skill sets means we are building exciting new businesses and pushing forward the boundaries of our knowledge and understanding.

It’s not a process that will happen overnight, of course, as operational change takes time to implement and requires a different culture and mindset. But the potential reward is enormous. It’s only by thinking and acting collaboratively that Bosch and its partners will develop the IoT technologies of tomorrow.