As I begin my term as IEEE Technical Activities Vice President, I reflect upon the many ways Societies, Councils, and the Technical Activities Board (TAB) have adapted and remained agile, to meet the needs of this changing landscape. While this has presented challenges, it has also brought flexibility and greater understanding of how to prioritize the work of TAB and its OUs.
One of the ways TAB will continue to adapt through my term is by prioritizing time for strategic discussion, while limiting the duration of meetings, especially those that are remote. Favoring shorter meetings, with more rich and strategic content, and better organizing our time for longer, face-to-face meetings, will continue to be a focus point in 2022. The quick-shift to a virtual February Board Series from a planned hybrid in-person event lent an opportunity to demonstrate this flexibility and test out a new format for TAB meetings.
As such, individuals presenting at the February TAB meeting were asked to stick to just a few slides showing important issues or critical strategic items, with supporting reports in backup information. I also requested that TAB members prepare for this meeting beforehand, by offering a walk-through of the TAB agenda and major business elements, adhering to strict deadlines for posting supporting documentation, and hosting specific background meetings ahead of time. What resulted was a more efficient and strategic TAB meeting, where members came prepared to discuss business and ask questions. I am looking forward to seeing how this format evolves in June, when we can translate what we learned in February to an in-person environment.
In addition to fostering more time to discuss strategic issues in TAB, I plan to focus on several key priorities in 2022:
- Creating a TAB program on climate change
- Identifying disruptive technology while sharing and favoring cross-disciplinary work amongst Societies/Councils
- Increasing visibility of the TAB Value Proposition with IEEE members
- Promoting diversity and attracting “new blood” in committees
- Continuing to build on existing good practices in place at TAB level
One of my priorities this year is to set up a new TAB Program on Climate Change, as a way to gather forces within TAB on this strategic issue for several years, and to bring support in 2022 to the Ad Hoc on Climate Change launched by IEEE President Ray Liu. Initially, I hope this group will collect ideas for initiatives and activities, develop a scope of work that should be done, and create a mission and vision.
I believe climate change is one of the most pressing issues on the planet, and it is key that we create space for strategic discussions around it. IEEE, and especially TAB, is exceptionally adept at convening people around a common goal and can foster opportunities to understand the climate emergency and to provide solutions. Most notably, TAB is uniquely well-positioned to work on this issue with modesty but at the same time with intelligence and innovation at a global level: a powerful combination.
Formalized activity around climate change also helps refresh the pipeline of IEEE members and volunteers and attract new members. Young scientists and engineers are eager to work on topics such as this, and when joining a professional organization will look for opportunities to contribute to causes that they care deeply about. I believe that those who are the future of our craft will make IEEE their professional home if IEEE shows a strong commitment to topics they consider critical. It is by honoring this commitment that we position IEEE to thrive in the future, while using technology to benefit all of humanity and sharing findings with the world.
Read more about IEEE’s role in addressing sustainability efforts, and why I am making climate change a priority during my term as Vice President of TAB here.
I am looking forward to sharing more information on TAB’s climate change opportunity and on the additional focus areas I have identified in my next message.
Thank you for all that you do to make IEEE a vibrant community that facilitates critical dialogue to shape generations to come.
2022 Vice President, Technical Activities