To innovate successfully, you need a culture of empowerment.\nOur most successful product, the Roomba, a robot that vacuums, stemmed from an idea that a \n\ngroup of employees had. They approached us with this idea, we backed it and now millions \n\nof units have sold. Today, we hold internal contests allowing our employees to innovate \n\nand present their inventions to the top management team. In fact, our newest product, a \n\nrobot that cleans gutters, is the result of an innovation contest.\n\nDiversity in the workplace leads to diversity in ideas.\nThe project manager for the Roomba 500 series was an Islamic refugee from Bosnia. She \n\nsaid, "We are going to build the robot that I need to clean up after my 2-year-\nold twins." She looked at the usability and product attributes differently than most men \n\non the team. Because we're looking for new approaches and new ideas, diversity of \n\nbackground, perspective and cultural experience is important.\n\nIt's not about me, it's about you.\nI always wanted to build an Internet-connected Robot (read "New Household Robot Promises to Make Virtual Visits Easy"). In 2000, we tried to get one \n\nto market with a selling price of $2,500. I knew I was willing to pay a few thousand \n\ndollars for a robot\u2014and I knew other robot enthusiasts like me would be willing, too\u2014but \n\nat that time, there just wasn't enough interest. Eight years later, though, we've created \n\na different Internet-connected robot with many of the same capabilities but selling at a \n\nfraction of the cost. It's become a reality because we focused on the right things: \n\npricing, functionality and the end user.\n\n\nI take pride in our inventions.\nOur PackBot\u2014a robot that detonates roadside bombs for the military\u2014holds a special place \n\nin my heart. I have worked closely with the armed services for the past 20 years and have \n\ngained a very clear understanding of the risks our soldiers take every day. I have shaken \n\nhands with men and women who credit our PackBot with saving the lives of their teammates. \n\nIt's rewarding and motivating, and we continue to learn from them and work on inventions \n\nthat will help with their missions. Our robots are truly making a difference in their \n\neveryday lives.\n\nI never met a robot I didn't like.\nR2D2 from Star Wars first inspired me to build robots. I've always believed that robots \n\nwill be a part of our lives, and this belief kept me going through a lot of ups and \n\ndowns\u2014especially when we were living contract to contract and the stress was high.