The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is the largest technical association in the world, with over 400,000 members in over 160 countries. Our members come from a huge variety of backgrounds. They are in electrical and electronics engineering, computing, communications, robotics, and automation, and much more. They work in academia, private industry, and government. We have members who have formed their own startups, who are entrepreneurs and consultants, and we have a substantial proportion of students. We are a global organization, with half of our members located in the U.S. and half outside.
To serve all of these members, we need a solid strategy for making the industry better. That strategy needs to be rooted in research and foresight. I work on the strategic research team, helping IEEE staff and volunteers make data-driven decisions. My team needs to have a broad understanding of what IEEE does as well as what’s going on outside of IEEE, in order to best serve our internal clients. Understanding the major drivers impacting associations and the industries we serve is vital to my work at IEEE. Having this broad understanding of what is happening outside of IEEE helps me write better research questions and helps me provide more useful, actionable recommendations.
For example, IEEE recently sent a survey to all our female members to gain an understanding of the perceptions they have as women working in tech and their gender-based experiences.
When we analyzed the data that came back from the study, we looked for differences based on age, career-stage, title, field, and country or origin. We also aim to add recommendations based on broader issues pertaining to society, politics, and economics.
This survey was created before ASAE’s Foresight Works tool became available, a resource for associations looking to integrate ongoing, future-focused strategic planning into their organization by identifying and preparing for drivers of change. I’m excited to get into the weeds and start using Foresight Works internally at my company. Sitting down with these change drivers, studying them and plotting out the next phases of research is going to help me do my job better. As a research manager, it makes me be a better resource to my company. You don’t have to be in a leadership role to take advantage of these tools!
Lesleigh spoke in the “Building A Culture of Foresight In Your Association” session during SURGE Spring, an interactive virtual summit hosted by AssociationSuccess.org on May 2nd-4th. Click here to watch the sessions on demand.