IEEE Power & Energy Society
IEEE

Leader’s Corner

Strategic Planning

An Update From Our Division Director

I always enjoy writing an article for IEEE Power & Energy Magazine that allows me to share with you some of the great things going on at IEEE. As the Division VII director, I have been humbled to be on the IEEE Board of Directors. This year, President Staecker asked me to lead the Strategic Planning Committee. This is an ad-hoc committee he set up to look at the future of IEEE and to make recommendations to the Board about future opportunities. We have been very busy already this year, and the work we are doing will help benefit all parts of IEEE including the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES).

In January, President Staecker held a retreat for the Board, and our committee was a large part of the agenda. Our goal was to begin a dialog on IEEE priorities and try to develop them so they could last for a few years at least. In the past, many approaches have been tried to provide guidance for the sitting Board. As you may know, many of the members change each year, and driving consistency for strategic work is sometimes difficult to achieve with a one-year focus. In our wildest imagination, we could not foresee being able to develop IEEE priorities with full Board endorsement in a mere four weeks’ time!

We took a brave step and tried using a technique that is new to IEEE but has been successfully used in many other places, including the United Nations with 500 CEOs to try to solve a part of world poverty, with world religions to rejoin them after a 300-year hiatus, with the U.S. Navy to transform it so the youth could truly lead, and with Wal-mart to help it on the journey to being one of the world’s most sustainable companies. The technique is called Appreciate Inquiry, and it was developed by Dr. David Cooperrider.

At the heart of the Appreciative Inquiry process is the 4D cycle: discovery, dream, design, and destiny. Elena Gerstmann (senior director, IEEE Enterprise Planning and Development) and I co-led a session at the January retreat to help sitting directors and senior IEEE staff discover and dream about what IEEE could be in 2023. Some fascinating ideas were developed that made me proud to be an IEEE member.

figure 1. IEEE priorities.

figure 1. IEEE priorities.

A few weeks later, the February Board series was held. Again, Elena and I co-led a session to continue developing the IEEE priorities where we held the design phase of the Appreciative Inquiry process. This time we again invited the directors and senior IEEE staff and also invited the director-elects. Having this ecosystem in the room has the potential to bridge the one-year strategic view gap.

By the end of the session the following four IEEE priorities emerged, as shown in Figure 1.

The great thing about these priorities is that many of the key initiatives that we are already delivering on are embedded within them or within our mission: Advancing technology for humanity. Take the PES Community Solutions and PES Scholarship initiatives; they are in both the green and the blue priorities, and community solutions definitely supports our mission. Take the smart grid initiative, which is now hosted by PES, where we are embracing many different Societies to deliver on the promise of a modernized grid; it’s at the heart of the blue priority and the mission. For many years, PES members have been asking for the blue priority; now it’s an IEEE priority and we should see this new technology and ways of working together to make it a reality.

I hope you find this work as exciting as I do! IEEE is continuing to reinvent itself and continuing to be relevant within society by advancing technology for humanity.