Most would agree that IEEE fulfills its purpose to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity as defined in its Mission statement. That said, there’s a single element directly related to the multitude of IEEE activities and initiatives that is essential to the ongoing success and relevance of our Institute over the long term. It’s something that is a primary focus in my 2017 IEEE President-Elect platform—and that is communication. And, by that, I mean finding ways to better understand and successfully communicate IEEE’s value proposition to all of our various stakeholders.
The motivational speaker Tony Robbins has said, “to effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” I know this to be true and one area where I’ve garnered a good deal of knowledge within IEEE is through extensive global experience—something that can be beneficial in helping to drive IEEE’s value proposition messaging worldwide.
And, as value proposition goes, we need to create incremental value and leverage it through communication. An example of how we can achieve this is by IEEE providing comprehensive competency based education that is certified. This will position IEEE as a professional development partner for industry and bring greater value to members by helping to advance their careers. Technology is moving at an unprecedented pace, and technical careers are increasingly multi-disciplinary, global and collaborative. Industry leaders are challenged to provide meaningful developmental offerings for employees, and IEEE is ideally positioned as a resource that can fulfill this need.
So how do we go about the task of defining and more broadly and effectively communicating IEEE’s value proposition? To start, I propose developing more personalized and targeted marketing strategies aimed at our top, and most important, segments (i.e., Young Professionals, Industry, Academics, Women in Engineering, etc.) As part of that plan, we need to engage more closely with IEEE members around the world so that we can incorporate individual experiences that tell the IEEE value story in new and innovative ways that make a particular connection with the segment of interest. This could be initiated first by conducting value chain analysis that leads to new discovery for refreshed messaging on how IEEE is making specific positive impacts on members’ lives and careers.
In order to communicate effectively it’s also important that we find new and better ways for our members to access, trend and analyze the vast information resources of the Institute, and identify actions and activities that are best practices to replicate elsewhere. We also need to put in place mechanisms, tools and resources that allows IEEE volunteers to more quickly respond and efficiently contribute their time and knowledge. In that same vein, we need to be proactive in soliciting feedback from members on how to strengthen the IEEE value proposition today and for the future.
George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying, “the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” That’s a problem we want to avoid within IEEE, and that is why I’m convinced we need the leadership today that will set us on a successful course where IEEE is viewed across the board as having a high value proposition for all of its current and prospective members.
By communicating effectively, we will continue to attract the best and brightest to work together to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. Better defining and promoting our value proposition is key, and I invite you to share any additional thoughts or ideas on how we can move the needle forward in this regard. With your help, as 2017 IEEE President-Elect, I will continue the push towards building and communicating IEEE’s value to stakeholders around the world. It’s an important factor in ensuring our continued growth and relevance as an organization.