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Lessons from Mom

May 11, 2017
by Glen De Vos, Delphi's chief technology officer

My mom is my hero. My dad was an engineer for Boeing and that meant moving. A lot. I was born in New Jersey, grew up in Seattle and went to high school in New Orleans. After I left for college, my parents lived all over the world, eventually settling in Florence, Italy. She set up home all over the world, and no matter where it was, it felt exactly as it should – like home. She was one tough cookie. Her faith, strength, agility and adaptability is a lesson upon which I still draw.

From her, I learned the importance of not only adapting to change, but anticipating and getting ahead of it. Those are lessons I apply on a daily basis at work.

Disruption is happening on a massive scale in the auto industry. If we don’t aggressively fight and flex, zig and zag with smart strategy and laser-focused execution, we could lose our leadership position. Honestly, this disruption has made us as an industry better, faster and more agile. Nowhere is that sense of urgency felt more than up and down the global halls of Delphi. It has the feeling of a start-up; a 100-year old start-up. Although we are a company steeped in a history of innovation and industry-firsts, we are being challenged to think entirely outside the box. To take risks and push the envelope.

At Delphi, we had to rethink the car.

The feeling of relentless innovation is palpable and it’s catching. It can be seen in the incredible leaps we’ve made in centralized computing power. Think about it. We move 30 billion lines of code daily. Soon to be 200 billion.

And behind these incredibly powerful computers, a system of wires and connectors enables them. But the existing system – almost two miles long isn’t capable of supporting automated driving and the computer firepower necessary to enable it.

Like I said, we had to rethink the car.

We stopped thinking about this as just wiring harnesses and connectors. We now think about the electrical architecture of a car as a network that moves massive amounts of data securely and seamlessly at incredible rates; with automotive grade performance. The car is a network of computers, code, data, and information systems that need to work all the time in any condition.

We turned conventional thinking on its head. And it felt good. And it helped to move our progress, measured not just in small steps, but giant leaps. It’s this type of thinking – or rethinking – that will continue to drive innovation aimed at making our customers successful. And we will continue to anticipate the changes coming and adapt accordingly – just like my Mom taught me.

 

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