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Learning From 2020’s Lessons to Take on the Challenges of 2021

By Team InOrbit

To say 2020 was a challenging year for all of us would be like saying water is wet. Duh. Instead, we turn to some of our favorite films for inspiration to explain why challenges are good for people and companies.

In “The Empire Strikes Back,” which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Han Solo is escaping Hoth with Princess Leia when they run into an asteroid field. Instead of complaining about their bad luck, Han takes control of the Millennium Falcon and weaves his way through the asteroids before finding a place to land to avoid the pursuing Empire ships.

Han’s ability to adapt to the situation, to be flexible in the face of adversity, is what makes for good heroes (and good movies, too). It can also be applied to companies: being able to take on the challenges of whatever life throws at you will make you stronger in the end.

Too often this year, we’ve seen people complain about “2020” as if it was responsible for everything bad that’s happened. “Just wait until 2021, things will get better then” is a common phrase uttered by friends, colleagues or other companies. But we’ve heard this before during rough times, and the challenges keep coming.



Instead of just hoping that changing a digit on the year will suddenly make things better, we’re going to take the lessons of 2020 and apply them to 2021. We’re going to be more flexible, more adaptable and ready to take on new challenges. “Never tell me the odds!” is what Han tells C-3PO about the dangers of heading into the asteroid field.

That’s not to say we’re going to fly by the seat of our pants, as Han often did. Rather, we’re going to back up our resilience and flexibility with new innovations, continuous improvement to our platform, and working hand in hand with partners and potential customers to achieve our vision. During 2020, our vision never changed, despite the adversity thrown our way. In 2021, that vision remains the same – to enable 1 million robots that can positively impact the lives of 1 billion people.

Looking back at 2020, we discovered that we achieved a lot of great things during the year, and we’ve compiled some of our favorites in the video above.

If Star Wars has taught us anything, it’s that working together for a common cause is the righteous path. Just like the Rebel Alliance was united in their fight against the evil Empire, we continue building the RobOps movement. Our community of like-minded individuals at the Robot Operations Group more than doubled this year and produced the Robot Operations Manifesto, the first ever open source best practice for managing growing robot fleets.

As always, we thank our friends, customers, colleagues and family members for their support during the year, and hope that you all have a healthy and happy holiday season. Let’s face the 2021 asteroid belt (or secret monster hiding inside the giant asteroid) together.