President Bernd Liepert reflects on this year’s election for the Board of Directors  We are approaching a key point in the association’s calendar. The General Assembly and the election of Directors to the Board provide us with a moment of accountability and renewal. As a membership organisation, euRobotics exists to support its members. With them and alongside them, our purpose is to boost and promote the European robotics sector. Our activities are designed to achieve this.

This leads to a good question – why should any member of euRobotics stand as a candidate for election to the Board of Directors? My answer is firstly that serving on the Board gives Directors fresh insights, not just into the way the association itself operates but also about the opinions and perspectives of their fellow Directors. Secondly, the Board provides opportunities for collaboration, to meet and become better known by other individuals who have a vision to get things done within the robotics sector. Thirdly, members of any community get more from it when they play an active part in it. So I thank those who have shown their willingness to offer their time and energy to our community by standing as a candidate this time. And to anyone who might consider this next year I would say, if you have the time and the desire to help your association succeed and grow, don’t hesitate. We would welcome your candidature.   

Why is this important? Because the Board plays a valuable role in the governance of the association. It oversees the way euRobotics conducts itself. It receives activity and performance reports and assesses the association’s progress against its broad strategy and its specific targets. Where necessary, it takes decisions in the best interest of the association and its members. That oversight is essential for any organisation if it wants to stay on track. Without it, things can drift. The Executive Team has a role in this, too, but it’s the Board above all that keeps the big picture in view.    

I was recently asked, as President, what I was looking for from the incoming Board, once the election is complete and the new Board convenes from July. Beyond the oversight, I’m looking for our new Board to help us refocus the association. As all of our members will know, we are in a phase of transition, taking a fresh look at what we do, drawing conclusions about where we have the greatest impact as an association, and making decisions that will lead to change. A key part of that is to re-centre euRobotics around its members to a greater extent than before. I believe this customer-centric approach will give fresh impetus to euRobotics. Very importantly, we want to take this approach and see a progressive increase in member satisfaction over time. How can the new Board help in this? Firstly, they represent the wider membership and can play a valuable role in revealing and articulating member sentiment. Secondly, many are service-providers in various ways through their own companies or institutions. Thirdly, they are also customers themselves in several different settings – as we all are – and will be able to help us to see our work at euRobotics through a customer’s lens. These three distinct perspectives are very important for us. We can learn a lot from them.   

Building on this I expect the Board to support us as we pursue our priorities and face the challenges that will arise in the coming years. We exist because the European robotics sector and specifically our members, want euRobotics to exist. We are redefining our activities. We are building new relationships and alliances and we believe this will have benefits for our members. Meanwhile, we look forward to ERF and we hope to meet many of our current and future BoD members there as we can, because above all, this is an association of people. It has been hard to endure the last two years with such limited physical contact and I hope we take every chance we have to reconnect with people in Rotterdam.   

Finally, I would say to our members, please take the time to consider the candidates who are standing for election this time. Whoever becomes a Director for your area of membership will represent you for the next three years. And I ask all of our members to exercise their democratic choice by taking part in the General Assembly. The GA approves the general policy of the association and gives clear signals to the Board of Directors about how that policy should be applied. Every vote counts and – as we have seen in the past – a single vote can make a real difference. Please take this once-in-a-year opportunity to play a direct role in the governance of euRobotics.