Why the caravan is the new garage

There were many fascinating exhibits at Bosch ConnectedWorld 2017, but one in particular stood out: our caravan. Many people gave it a quizzical look, and some asked: “What does it have to do with the IoT or the connected world?” Well, more than you think; but before I explain that, let’s take a step back in time.

The garage

For many years – decades, in fact – the garage has been a symbol of entrepreneurship, especially of the Silicon Valley start-up culture. As most of you probably know, this dates back to 1939. That year, in the unassuming garage pictured below, William Hewlett and David Packard built an audio oscillator that would become the foundation for HP, and ultimately the world’s most important high-tech region.

Source: HP (graphic extracted from http://www.hpmuseum.org/garage/garage.htm)

However, HP wasn’t the only company to be founded in a garage or small workshop. In 1886, Robert Bosch opened a workshop for precision mechanics and electrical engineering in this lovely courtyard in Stuttgart, Germany. There, he invented a practical magneto ignition device that served as the basis for Bosch’s successful development over the next 130 years.

We need a new symbol for the connected world

But this is not about who was first or which is the nicer garage or workshop, so let’s get to the point. For me, both examples are actually perfect symbols of how innovation in the past usually happened: genius inventors and creators had brilliant ideas, locked themselves up and, after some ups and downs, came up with great products.

Obviously, in some cases, this pattern still holds, but now this is more the exception to the rule. In today’s connected world, we need a new paradigm – and a new symbol .

The caravan is the new garage

To be fair, our caravan is more vintage than modern, but that’s just because we like the style. Think about what the caravan stands for:

  • Traveling: A journey might lead to a destination, but potentially the journey itself becomes the destination.
  • Openness: You leave your home, your known environment, and familiar faces behind in order to connect with new people, see new places, have new experiences, and learn from them. Your mind stays open and curious, and your ideas benefit from the change of place and perspective.
  • Agility and flexibility: You travel somewhere, and if it’s nice you stay for a while, but if the weather turns bad you pack your things and go somewhere else.
  • Freedom and (endless) opportunities: You are free to go wherever you want and there are innumerable places to choose from.

Sound familiar? Well, that’s exactly what the IoT and the necessary digital transformation are all about. That’s why I think the caravan is the new garage.

What symbolizes the connected world best in your opinion?  Please share your thoughts (or pictures of your “caravan”).

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About the author

Steffen Schmickler

Steffen Schmickler

Steffen Schmickler has 20 years experience in various Marketing, Business Development and Strategy roles in Europe and North America. He joined the Bosch Group in 2005 and was appointed Global Head of Marketing & Communications for Bosch Software Innovations in 2012. With his team Steffen is driving the digital transformation with a strong focus on data-driven marketing, digital channels, content marketing, and integrated multi-channel campaigning.