Expediting Standards Development to Match Innovation

Expediting Standards Development to Match Innovation

This piece was originally published in the September 2018 issue of electroindustry.

Peter Weems, Senior Director, Policy and Strategy, MITA

Because Standards serve as the backbone of industry self-regulation, it is important to get them right. Industry consensus Standards help reduce costs and expand markets through the promotion of interoperability, safety, and quality.

As the electrotechnical industry changes and as the pace of innovation quickens, NEMA must keep up. One of the association’s primary activities is the production of technical intellectual property. Given that standards development traditionally spans multiple years, the process needs to be expedited to match the rate of technological change. Significant reforms will be necessary for NEMA to remain relevant and continue to provide value to its Members.

This will require improvements to the standards development process itself, NEMA’s ability to execute it, and the ends toward which it is directed. The point is to deliver technically sound IP that has the consensus of NEMA Members. Rethinking the main criteria of technical soundness and Member consensus may involve issuing beta versions or iterating Standards quickly over a period of weeks or months instead of years or more.

NEMA will need to hold itself to high performance standards, driving progress through the process and delivering technical IP on time to retain maximum relevance. It will also need to undertake high-value projects that will achieve Members’ objectives.

All of this work should be directed toward the association’s mission statement, which is to “expand markets and reduce costs for electrical and medical imaging technologies and services,” in order to contribute to Member profitability. Staff, Divisions, and Sections will establish high-value objectives to ensure that the IP being developed supports achievement of these objectives.

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