By now, it goes without saying that the cornerstone of Kinova’s DNA is our desire to create products that empower humanity, and that fulfilling our ethical, human and social responsibilities is fundamental to maintaining the core of our culture. Always has been, always will be.
Passion and inspiration came very young and very organically to our founder Charles Deguire, but for many kids, teens and even young adults, it’s not necessarily like that — they get inspired as they work through school and eventually discover their calling. That’s why it’s important to instill the values needed to positively impact the people you’re serving as early as possible.
For example, at Kinova, we hire a slew of interns that we coach and develop, and a lot of them stay on afterwards. It’s all about giving them the empowerment to put their skills towards a greater good. Something we’d love to be able to say one day, as a company, is that we had a hand in driving the next inspired leaders to be able to share their passion with the next generation that will take over for us.
Whether it’s creating a product, a development life-cycle, or marketing processes and guides, the desire for serving the public needs to be repeated in everything you do and then integrated into a standard. It needs to be part of the communicated values when you onboard somebody and throughout their experience and their development.
Using That Passion to Work For (and With) Humans
Whenever we sell a product, we don’t just like to sell it and walk away. Part of our responsibility is having a willingness to follow our customers into the journey of usage. We always want to be a part of what happens next by being involved wherever needed.
When the honeymoon period of getting a robotic arm, working with it and slowly sussing out its capabilities wears off, our users want to be able to do more. And they want to do more now. Part of how we get them there is by observing and talking to them about the product. By connecting with them on social networks. By staying connected and trying to build relationships.
On the one hand, somewhat selfishly, we need to establish those types of relationships and lines of communication, in order to demonstrate the extent of what our products can do for others. In a much greater sense, however, you want to be able to help your customers now and visualize how things are going as they use our products, in order to get a greater sense of our customers’ needs and respond by developing more advanced capabilities moving forward.
The way we measure how well we’re living up to our corporate social responsibility is done through our ability to serve our customers in an extremely personalized way. Because our client base is not in the millions, we’re able to maintain a direct relationship with all of our clients, to the point where we’re on a first-name basis. If anyone has a problem, they can call us and they’ll get through to us. That, I believe, is a real differentiator.
It All Comes Back to the Customer
We Kinovians are very frank with ourselves — we consider ourselves very open and we’re transparent internally. If for whatever reason, from ideation to delivery, a product no longer meets the primary needs of the customer in which we were trying to address, we seriously challenge ourselves.
If something doesn’t support our culture and the customer’s needs, we won’t put it into market. It would be a failure for us and it would impact our relationship with our consumer base. That’s why we ask ourselves the tough questions and the ultimate answers are not always financial.