This piece was originally published in the September 2018 issue of electroindustry.
Dean Kamen, whose inventions range from drug infusion pumps to the Segway, is credited with saying, “Every once in a while a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.”
That trifecta is not too far different from the purpose of NEMA Strategic Initiatives: To seek out promising opportunities or emerging challenges, thoroughly research them, and report to Members so individual companies can make business decisions armed with more complete information.
NEMA Members have been redrawing for years the innovation curve that drives solutions with products and systems across the breadth of the electrical and medical imaging scopes. Since 2007, companies have annually submitted ideas regarding the near-term future (3-5 years) to determine what technologies or obstacles are coming into view. From an assortment of proposals, staff and Members collaborate to fine-tune a set of study topics ideally to the benefit of multiple NEMA Divisions and Sections. These initiatives have clear and achievable goals and produce materials to help NEMA Members approach their future as much as possible on their own terms.
After receiving the approval of the NEMA Board of Governors at its July meeting, the Strategic Initiatives are announced in September in the Big Ideas issue of electroindustry magazine. I invite you to look at our feature article on the 2019 Strategic Initiatives, beginning on page 8.
This year, the approved projects fall into the general categories of Digitalization / Internet of Things, Smart Cities / Electrification, Value of Medical Imaging, and Workforce Development. These themes are not random. Rather, they encompass a review of the environments in which our companies do business and cover technological topics such as data analysis and artificial intelligence, new opportunities such as increased use of electricity in agriculture, and the shared challenge of finding work-ready employment candidates.
Much of what is learned via Strategic Initiatives gets translated into new and improved products and systems. In turn, NEMA will need to develop corresponding performance Standards and other value-added technical documents that keep pace with emerging technologies. Occasionally, entirely new Sections get created as our industries evolve with the times.
I encourage all our Members to become familiar with Strategic Initiatives and, more importantly, become involved in the process that develops and oversees them.