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Bosch on innovation: ‘Remove the blinkers — create opportunities’

While the future of office life might be a hot topic for other leadership teams, Bosch’s Jenny Patten has other mountains to move.

Jennifer Dunkerley

Leader

Unleash Your Potential Exclusive 1-2-1 interview with Bosch’s Head of Business Development Jenny Patten on amplifying opportunities for innovation

  • 19% of the technology workforce are women. In senior leadership roles, it’s even smaller — just 5%.
  • Dropbox, Slack, Twitter, and Spotify are examples of many technology companies who’ve said they’re not returning to office life.
  • Earlier this week, tech titans Microsoft and Bosch announced they have teamed up on a new smart automotive software platform.

“For me there is no ‘return to office work’ – there’s very little value. I’ll encourage my team at Bosch to continue the way we are now.”

While the future of office life might be a hot topic for other leadership teams, Bosch’s Jenny Patten has other mountains to move.

As the Head of Business Development UK, Jenny has been at the forefront of future innovation, technology, and progress at Bosch for almost 15 years, and leads a team that helps people on their digitalization journey. But it doesn’t stop there.

She has other priorities including climate change, breaking barriers – and of course, leading post-pandemic are in her sights. Returning to the office simply isn’t one of them.

“At the start of the pandemic we quickly adapted to a new way of working and formed strategies to collaborate successfully virtually,” she explains. “That doesn’t stop and won’t stop, even if the office decides to reopen. I will encourage my team to continue this new way of working.”

Jenny joins leaders from the likes of Dropbox, Twitter, Slack and Spotify to champion the ‘work from anywhere’ methodology.

“The consequence is that people won’t need to travel needlessly every day,” she says. “Of course, there are times when being-face-to-face is necessary, but I won’t ever encourage my team to travel into the office just to sit at a desk on calls all day, as we’ve shown there is very little value to that now.”

Jenny is currently working with a major UK retailer on how Bosch’s Internet of Things (IoT) solutions can help benefit their business. Following the impacts of COVID-19, the retailer is looking at Bosch solutions such as video analytics, to ensure social distancing measures are in place and facemasks are being worn.

PUSH PROGRESS – DON’T LOOK BACK

“My number one passion is innovation – looking for how to push progress, not looking back,” she tells UNLEASH. “I’m also passionate about how large corporations can inspire collaboration across teams and individual employeesAs an innovation leader, Bosch is already helping to shape the future of many of the industries in which we operate — but in an increasingly connected world, working together even closer is crucial to this continued success. This means collaboration with external partners and customers but also internally, across different business units and teams.”

For Jenny, 2020 saw a lot of breakthroughs – her highlight? The Bosch Vivalytic.

She explains: “At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Bosch was able to develop and launch one of the first fully automated, lab-standard PCR-based tests for SARS-CoV2-2 in just six weeks.”

Jenny Patten, Head of Business Development at Bosch

Current innovations Jenny is working on include ‘Invented for life’ technology. “So in 2021 you can expect to see more innovation in areas such as automated driving, air quality, industrial automation and healthcare,” she explains.

“Personally, I’m also really excited about our innovations that will support customers with their carbon neutrality goals and my team will be launching a IoT solution in the UK called Phantom which applies artificial intelligence at the Edge to provide key insights on asset level energy consumption.”

As a team leader, senior manager and woman leader at a time where diversity and equality (especially in technology) has never been more important, Jenny’s path to success is clear:

Remove silos, remove the blinkers and create opportunities – not hierarchy or problems.

She reveals: “Early on in my role at Bosch, I was given the opportunity to head up a project focused on breaking down traditional siloes between different teams in Bosch by establishing a cross divisional team focusing on holistic solutions for our customers.

“Leading this project it became clear to me that if you ‘remove the blinkers’ and create opportunities for employees to collaborate with others across the organization, you open the floodgates for innovative ideas and solutions that would otherwise never have been thought of.

“Collaboration across teams also increases the likelihood of success in the projects to develop such solutions. In my current role I get the opportunity to work together with many teams across Bosch globally and I encourage my team members as well as others to do so as much as possible.”

MODERN LEADERSHIP MINDSET

Jenny’s project and leadership resulted in an additional turnover for Bosch worldwide, but she sees it as much more than that.

“More importantly it played a role in supporting a mindset shift within the company to drive additional value for our customers by collaborating on projects and solutions.

“Fast-forward a few years and you can see many examples of this collaboration in the company evolving across all teams. One of these is our Bosch Connected Industry team who combine their intelligent solutions and services with products and software from our Rexroth and Building Technology teams for manufacturing.”

But it’s not all work and no play. Jenny set up an all-new team in 2020 and had to build trust quickly in a virtual setting. Now she enjoys keeping them motivated and sociable remotely with a virtual team quiz night.

“We organized a Bosch UK social club,” she says. “It’s not quite the same as being together in person – but we still laugh and enjoy spending time together on non-business related calls.”

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