This piece was originally published in the October 2018 issue of electroindustry.
Change is occurring at an unprecedented pace, and it’s only getting faster. According to Gartner, by 2020, five of the top seven digital giants will willfully “self-disrupt” to create their next market leadership opportunity. To keep up in a digitized world, NEMA must adopt new productivity strategies for its intellectual properties and optimize our processes for developing them.
We must get Standards done right, but we must also get them done quickly. On average, it takes us nearly two and a half years to develop a new one—an inadequate timeframe in the current environment. Although Standards are likely to be relevant for years or even decades, we need to think differently about how we can bring them to market sooner. This may mean iterative generations, beta versions that are released to market for early adopters, or identifying alternative ways to provide technical guidance to the market.
Fundamental to the process is achieving consensus, and that challenge will not go away. Nor will face-to-face meetings. The tools available in the digital era, however, should help us get to consensus faster and capture ideas when the spark of creativity occurs, not just when the next meeting is scheduled. Online platforms, document sharing software, and webcasts, for example, allow work across distance and time zones, enabling more people with broader areas of expertise to contribute real-time with less disruption to our volunteers’ day jobs and our Member companies’ valuable resources.
NEMA needs to be the hub for innovation—in intellectual property as well as in technology—to remain relevant. Getting there will take time and effort. To that end, the NEMA Industry Future Forum at the Annual Meeting in San Antonio next month will explore how our association can best meet the challenges of this digitized century. I encourage Member C-suite executives to reserve a seat at the table. In exploring the future of NEMA as an association focused on Standards, Advocacy, and Business Intelligence, forward-looking discussions will focus on where the electroindustry is heading and how NEMA can evolve to help its Members succeed.
I extend my thanks on behalf of the NEMA Board of Governors to the countless company professionals who conceive, write, and maintain our industry’s shared intellectual property. I am confident that they will bring the same vision and focus to our fast-changing world as we collectively take the next leaps of technology and its complementary Standards development.