You have cited industry professionals as one of your topmost priorities if elected 2018 IEEE President-Elect. How do you propose to elevate that from the existing scenario?
With our extraordinary people, I will focus on creating a personalized offer for every industry professional so that IEEE be a unique comprehensive experience for her/him. Specifically, listening to people in each geographical area, analyzing the local needs, and identifying effective solutions all together, I will work with all Boards and organizational units catalyzing our efforts in five main areas:
- Industry professionals,
- Young professionals,
- Women in engineering,
- Industry management.
For industry professionals, in general, I envision the following fundamental strategic actions:
- Develop more practical knowledge to solve real-world problems and use standards, including methodologies, guidelines, best practices, and successful cases.
- Expand technical activities, communities, and standards in emerging technologies, multi-disciplinary areas, and areas which are broadly using technologies in the IEEE field (e.g., environmental engineering, finance engineering, food engineering).
- Introduce a recommendation system to facilitate identification of knowledge, products, services, and volunteering opportunities according to the profiles of each individual, by taking into account her/his area of work, her/his recent searches, and the searches of people with similar interests.
- Extract fundamental and advanced knowledge from the technical material already available, by knowledge discovery approaches and aggregating this material, for example, into overviews, tutorials, and webinars.
I envision also a significant increase in services for industry professionals in the following directions:
- Create more technology surveys and technology trend analysis.
- Expand data/algorithms repositories, data analytics, data mining and knowledge discovery tools to facilitate experimentation and technology innovation in industrial processes and products.
- Expand knowledge dissemination and support for standards and their effective use.
- Continue to enhance the information and knowledge delivery mechanisms with modern solutions and mobile services, so that information and knowledge are made available when and where needed.
- Expand awareness and support to ethics, ethic by design, technology sustainability, and risk management in applications and design innovation.
- Continuing education
- Create more opportunities for continuing education to remain on the leading edge of technology and innovation, both on advanced foundations and emerging and multi-disciplinary technologies as well as emerging needs for technologies, applications and standards, in particular by means of webinars and online courses.
- Introduce an advanced repository for educational materials by collecting references to all items created by the various organizational units in order to facilitate the search.
- Introduce a recommendation system to create personalized continuing education programs, according to the specific background of individuals and their respective needs, goals and aspirations.
- Support continuing education plans, possibly with certifications.
- Facilitate access to knowledge and continuing education by personalized plans and bundles.
- Create a repository/directory of expertise and competence profile of industry professionals with possible certifications.
- Expand the networking opportunities by establishing specialized forums on advanced topics as well as emerging technologies, applications, and standards, to facilitate dissemination of knowledge, recent experiences, and best practices.
- Enhance local people networking with local specialized groups, maker events, and competitions.
- Career development
- Expand the advanced material on career development, soft skills training, leadership, and public policy skills, as well as the support for capacity building, including advanced aspects related to management, communication, and leadership.
- Expand the mentoring programs to address not only career development, but also discussion of technology advancement and emerging topics.
- Expand the support to public policy to enable industry professionals to be informed and contribute to shaping the national policies on technology and their applications.
- Expand the public visibility activities to increase awareness about technology and increase appreciation of the engineering profession.
- Enhance the humanitarian activities worldwide and the engineering projects in the local community to show the value of technology for improving the daily life of people and to give back to the society.
- Identify multi-tier membership models whose fees are equally affordable everywhere in the world, proportionally to the average income, and whose products and services are tailored on the specific needs of members, possibly with rewards for volunteers and frequent users, and more caring for the financial burden and its concentrated impact when individuals are transitioning between positions or become unemployed or retired.
- Expand the recognition of excellence, especially in technology, product development, engineering practice, and industry management.
Among industry professionals, young professionals deserve special attention since they have specific needs, in addition to those of any other industry professional, mainly directed to expand the communication and management skills. In addition to the support for industry professionals, I envision further specific support tailored on young professionals in the following directions:
- Expand networking opportunities among young professionals in all IEEE groups, especially in Societies, Technical Councils, Sections, Chapters, and in multi-disciplinary and emerging areas.
- Reinforce attention on young professionals in networking opportunities at conferences and other events, promoting interaction with more senior volunteers.
- Continuing education
- Develop specific educational activities by adopting modern delivery mechanisms and quickly on-demand focusing on specific problems.
- Career development
- Expand the materials, tools, mentoring, and other services for early career development.
- Enhance the materials, tools, mentoring, and other services for communication, leadership skills, and management.
- Enhance mentoring for early volunteering development.
- Provide better understanding of entrepreneurships skills and foundations.
- Stimulate internship opportunities in industry, research centers, and academia.
- Create and promote a global directory for internship opportunities with local and worldwide perspectives.
- Expand the support to job fairs and online market place, possibly in cooperation with other organizations.
- Ensure a pervasive presence in all IEEE groups (including Sections, Societies/Technical Councils, Chapters, and their Committees) to bring young professionals’ views and aspirations in all decision processes, ensuring they have impact in IEEE.
- Identify multi-tier membership models more suited for the needs of young professionals, especially from the financial point of view and the offered benefits, also personalized on each individual, possibly with monthly payments and more gradual increase from the student membership fee.
- Continue not to charge fees to young professionals for membership to the Young Professional Affinity Group.
- Further expand the recognition of excellence of young professionals, especially in technology, product development, engineering practice, and industry management.
In order to retain the interest of students in IEEE after they graduate, students who are about to graduate should be allowed to taste at least part of the offer made to young professionals so that benefits of remaining in IEEE will become tangible to them.
Entrepreneurs are a particular group of industry people with other specific needs, mainly directed to support entrepreneurship. In addition to the support for industry professionals, I envision more support tailored on the needs of entrepreneurs in the following directions:
- Expand specific educational activities on entrepreneurship skills and practice, at any level of experience.
- Expand specific networking opportunities to better learn from role models and peers, as well as to enter in touch with experts of the various areas relevant to them for possible collaboration and mentoring.
- Study the creation of an Affinity Group for Entrepreneurs.
- Further expand the recognition of excellence of entrepreneurs, especially in technology, product development, engineering practice, and industry management.
Women professionals deserve specific attention to ensure equal opportunities in the working place as well as more diversity for addressing industrial problems in a more comprehensive way. In addition to the supports for industry professionals, young professionals, and entrepreneurs, I envision further specific support for women professionals in the following directions:
- Career development
- Expand the materials, tools, mentoring, and other services for early career development focusing on equal opportunities and the industry need of diversity in the work place.
- Expand mentoring for equal opportunities and diversity in the work place.
- Develop information material for managers and professionals to point out the value of equal opportunities and diversity in the work place in the engineering field, specifically directed to employers and managers.
- Increase awareness in the general public about equal opportunities and diversity in the work place in the engineering field.
- Expand networking opportunities among women professionals, especially across Societies, Technical Councils, Sections, and Chapters.
- Reinforce attention on women professionals in networking opportunities at conferences and other events, promoting interaction with more senior volunteers.
- Ensure a pervasive presence of women professionals in all IEEE groups to bring their views and aspirations in all decision processes, ensuring they have impact in IEEE.
- Do not to charge fees to women for membership to the Women in Engineering Affinity Group, for fairness with respect to Young Professionals Affinity Group.
- Further expand the recognition of excellence of women professionals as role models for the young generations and the entire society.
To facilitate engagement with industry professionals, I envision specific actions directed to the industry managers, especially if they do not have engineering background, to show the value of IEEE for the industry and the engagement with industry professionals. In particular, I see strategic actions in the following directions:
- Sensitize managers to the importance of continuing education for industry professionals and enhancement of equal opportunities, thus improving technical knowledge, skills, and competences and, consequently, achieving higher effectiveness and efficiency.
- Show the leadership role of IEEE in technology and innovation in our field of interest and, consequently, the value of industry partnering with IEEE.
- Show the opportunities for networking and volunteering of industry professionals in IEEE activities, resulting as benefits also for the industry as expanded networking and access to knowledge.
- Study corporate education opportunity to tailor continuing education on the needs of the each corporate, with a comprehensive perspective.
- Study corporate membership to bundle services and products, thus making IEEE more appreciated by corporate management and offering advanced services to respective industry professionals.
Actual specific activities should be identified together with people in each geographical area, since the most appropriate solutions depend on the specific needs and aspirations of the local professional community.
Even though the list of envisioned activities is long, it is worth noting that different IEEE groups are involved so that many activities can be addressed in parallel and synergies exploited in coordinated collaborative efforts across the entire IEEE. The actual initiatives should be anyway analyzed on the bases of the specific needs of each geographical area and the available financial and human resources. They will need, possibly, to be prioritized according to urgency and current feasibility.