First “International German Forum” Bosch supervisory board chairman Fehrenbach: more competition means more progress Competition for the best solution as a way to better quality of life

  • Challenges of the future call for technological responses
  • Drop in living standards is people’s greatest concern, survey says
  • Creative new solutions for the European economy
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  • June 05, 2013
  • Business/economy
  • Press releases

press release

Berlin – At the German federal government’s first “International German Forum”, Franz Fehrenbach, the chairman of the Bosch supervisory board, has called for increased competition in order to achieve improvements in quality of life and progress. “Cooperation is important, but competition is always needed as well to find the best solutions.” Fehrenbach believes that the competitive struggle of people, teams, and technological solutions is a key requirement for global progress. “For me, there is no doubt that the challenges of the future call for even better technological solutions,” he said. As examples of such challenges, he named demographic change, urbanization, and the scarcity of resources. To back up his claim, Fehrenbach referred to the innovation process at Bosch. Here too, associates’ ideas and solutions compete with each other, he said. And in the end, it is always the most viable solution with the greatest benefit that wins the day.

Worries about Europe, and fear of a drop in living standards
In a discussion entitled “What matters to people should matter to us” Fehrenbach referred to the findings of a study conducted by the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research. “Fear of a drop in living standards is something that concerns people greatly, second only to worries about personal health.” Fehrenbach said that Europe must seriously ask itself what kind of living standards its citizens will be able to afford five or ten years from now. The Bosch Group does not rule out protracted stagnation in Europe. The reasons for this are the debt crisis in a number of European countries, and the sluggish economic developments in southern Europe. At the same time, European business has to improve productivity in order to preserve its efficiency and competitiveness, he said. Fehrenbach continued: “To achieve this, we have to find creative, new solutions for Europe, but we also have to accept the creative destruction that Josef Schumpeter spoke of.” Innovation along with technological and economic progress and their positive effects are central elements of the European economic order, he said.

About the International German Forum
Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel has invited participants to attend the first International German Forum, entitled “What matters to people – wellbeing and progress.” Some 80 decision makers and experts from politics, business, academia, and society are meeting for an exchange of views in Berlin. The discussions will look at how the notions of “quality of life” and “progress” differ from culture to culture. The main issue is how a common response can be found to the universal challenges of the future – despite, or possibly with, different answers to these challenges. How can politics, business, and society help to improve individual quality of life and foster social progress? The idea for the International German Forum comes from the Federal Chancellor’s dialogue on Germany’s future. Between early 2011 and mid 2012, Merkel asked citizens and experts for their responses to the question: “How do we want to live in five to ten years from now?”

The first International German Forum will be transmitted by livestream on the German federal government’s website until 16:00 CEST.

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 375,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2015). The company generated sales of 70.6 billion euros in 2015. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing and sales network covers some 150 countries. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs 55,800 associates in research and development at 118 locations across the globe. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”

The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

Additional information is available online at and,

PI8168 - June 05, 2013

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