Expert TalkIndustry insights
By Keith Blanchet

I’ve been extremely lucky to travel all over the world for work, from the very beginning of my career, up until today. I’ve experienced business in over 60 countries and I’ve met some interesting and admiring people along the way.


My objective at Kinova is to build bridges between people, businesses, educational organizations, and governments to effectively fuel the cycle of innovation. Unsurprisingly, that means hopping on a plane and going to find the best people in the world to exchange with. This is why the concept of Steering Committees as I came to realize is, and will increasingly be, vital.


Steering Committees, at a Glance:

Steering Committees, as the term suggests, are meant to provide information necessary to validate ideas and challenge strategies using different perspectives and views of your market as a sounding board.

Gathering the best and brightest from a variety of peripheral industries allows you to really interrogate and inspect your product and business in a more meaningful way. Having multiple perspectives in one room ensures you’re doing your due diligence before a solution goes to market or a defining strategy is implemented.

But, most importantly, breaking the process into regional Steering Committees gives you a clear window of specific needs on a regional basis. While our company is proud to be Canadian, we’re equally committed to ensuring our products empower individuals, regardless of their country code. Understanding the effects of culture, the pain-points, the needs and the marketplace on a regional basis in a more meaningful manner is crucial.

Kinova’s first European steering committee took place in Toulouse in October of 2017. As a first initiative, we learned to frame the talks more in the future, but it was clear that, having experts in the field of service robotics from 6 different countries and ranging from medical to aerial robotics, we would end up with fantastic information for our future strategic planning.


It’s All about the Listening:

Steering Committees are for gathering feedback. How does one gather feedback? They get into listening mode. It’s a time to collect constructive feedback and hear, even encourage, criticisms, and recognize what you need to do to fit into new worlds and contexts. We use our Steering Committees as an opportunity to really get to know that “world” someone’s in. We always want to ask: how will robotics empower them in their life?

For 2018, we’ll be planning more Steering Committees to collaborate with people in North America, Europe, and Asia. Overtime, we’ll address new regions on a micro-level to bring more people together with the goal of empowering innovation.



If you’re a researcher, industry professional, academic (across all spectrums, including manufacturing, aerospace, and diversity) reach out to me to learn more about our Steering Committee initiatives and how you can take part.

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