This entry is being posted on behalf of Makarand Pandit, candidate for Director in the 2018 STC election. More information about Mak can be found on his STC election page. You can ask questions of the candidates on the STC Election Forum. The election begins 26 February and runs through 9 March.
Ever since the Nominating Committee interviewed me for the post of STC Director, I have been thinking about what STC can do to change itself and the world around it.
We are one of the most diversified TW communities in the world. By our very existence, we are a part of Innovation Ecosystem of the world. We have to be more pro-active than re-active in our outlook. Time to think whether we are using our assets to get the best possible outcome.
We all know S-curve of growth and the bell curve of the life cycle. The very fact that STC Membership has shrunk indicates that the number did not stabilize. We have entered the decline (trailing slope) of a bell curve, without really tipping to the top of S-curve and stabilizing on the plateau.
It is a popular belief to think that the US jobs are ‘Bangalor-ed.’ Having worked in this Industry in India for more than two decades, I can tell you that much work we are doing is NOT for the USA market. India itself is a huge population that needs huge spending in IT. More than 75% of my company’s business is India-centric. Researchers often restrict their research to product development companies working for the western market. There will be enough projects in India that over next 5 years work can be ‘Paris-ed’ or ‘Sunnyvale-d’ or ‘Tel Aviv-ed.’
Coming back to the point, then why are the American TW jobs going down? A careful analysis of the macroeconomics will give many pointers. However, I am restricting myself to STC here. I feel STC has been only responding that what is trending. For example, we are still on DITA and XML, whereas the developers are looking at Json more favorably.
STC needs representation and meaningful contributions on the new frontiers like Instructions through Augmented Reality or Chat Bots.
I feel we, as a community, are lagging behind in the innovation. We have to look at development in physics today. Developments in physics today will come out of the physics-engineering-technology pipeline after five years and will decide the direction of our work then.
Insights into what STC Board is already working on will answer some of my questions. But then, why don’t I already know it? Is it possible that we are not communicating enough? Or is it that we simply don’t have a success story to tell?
STC is an extremely successful Community-Hierarchy Model. This has worked for 60 years. However, looking at the future, I think it should be complemented by Innovation Focus Groups. I feel our efforts should be at three levels – Strategic, Tactical, and Operational. While strategic decisions are made by the STC Board of Directors, we should empower our community leaders for giving the tactical and the operational thrust. I believe our community leaders are quite capable of that.
Here are some thoughts I think should be considered.
- Strategic tie-ups with other societies. STC can build Innovation Focus Group that can be used to help contribute to such initiatives. Can we do something with IEEE, W3C, Augmented Reality? We can give them a guarantee of continuing this effort for at least 3 years. So they can plan their activities with our contribution as a part of it.
- STC to pay (at least partially) for at least two large-scale research projects. These funds can be raised through sponsorship or our budget.
- Introduce a non-member recognition award. It will help form ties with other communities. The maximum number of such recognitions per-year should be limited (let’s say not more than 3).
- Create STC institutional knowledge base that has information about how to organize meetings, conferences, webinars, and so on. This will be useful to our communities.
- Prepare a graph of members of STC and all its communities, for last 5 years, showing growth (or reduction). This information should be shared with all community leaders, and their opinions/analysis should be considered while making strategic decisions.
- Prepare a list of communities submitting the community awards nomination. Find out why are others not doing it? Provide them an alternative mechanism for doing it? Maybe something simple like an online form that can help them in self-appraisal and encourage them to submit.
- Provide additional 3-5 points communities participating in research projects.
- One Innovation Focus Group can be asked to promote STC Communities to undertake joint projects that will get STC recognition outside of its community. For example, STC India had collaborated with local Chapter of Project Management Institute.
- Share information about Platinum communities with all other communities. Other community leaders will pick up some ideas and follow them.
- STC President/Vice-President should conduct a webinar that reaches STC members directly. The webinars should talk about STC’s vision, future endeavors, and so on.
- There should be at least two such webinars every year. Recordings of these webinars should be made available.
- STC Board should provide the Community Leaders a slide deck of ten slides about STC and its progress. The leaders can include these slides in their presentations.
- Make sure that at least one STC director connects with the community leaders of all the communities every quarter.
- Provide leadership mentoring to community leaders through experienced leaders of STC. Provide exclusive lectures for STC community leaders.
These are just some of my ideas. I am confident that STC has the experience and managerial skills to hammer out the details.
Let’s innovate, reach out, and lead from the front.
Our inactions today will ensure our size will further shrink and one day become so insignificant that our presence in the innovation ecosystem will not matter to anyone anymore. We do not want that to happen, do we?