The Institute of Instrumentation, Control and Automation (IICA) seeks to set the benchmark, provide networking and education to the instrumentation, control and automation sectors of industry and manufacturing.
In this article I want to focus a bit on the networking aspect of the Institute's vision for the future.
Within our context, the word 'networking' is really a carry bag for a raft of activities and initiatives in which we see ourselves being involved and engaged.
At the ground level, networking achieves the IICA's aim of bringing together like-minded individuals and companies under the auspices of the Institute.
Specifically, there is scope for peer communication at each of our geographic Branch meetings across Australia; participation at technical evenings; meeting new and old colleagues at the mini-technical expos across metropolitan and regional centres nationwide; attendance at IICA sponsored social gatherings as well as engagement in Q&A technical discussions and problem solving with professional colleagues via the IICA's on-line participation with the LinkedIn network.
At another level, 'networking' means the ability for professional meeting, discussion and networking between the whole spectrum of end users with their counterpart suppliers and service providers within the neutral vehicle of the Institute. In other words, within the IICA, business competitors are freed from the normal constrictions that apply in the outside world of professional rivalries.
Yet another form of 'networking' in which the Institute engages is seeking to meet and develop mutual interests and benefits with other like-minded professional associations or organizations. Such networking alliances facilitate not only raising our own visibility more prominently, but in some ways perhaps more importantly, also those of our collective industry sectors as well.
Our Institute's membership comprises individuals and corporates from an extremely diverse range of industry and manufacturing sectors. It is therefore not always easy for those outside our sectors, especially government and other policy decision-makers, to see what such diverse areas have in common.
Such a lack of understanding and awareness makes it easy to lead to an under-estimation of the significance and value that our instrumentation, control systems and automation professionals contribute to the wealth generation of this country.
Raising our visibility and profile by networking with all kinds of decision-makers and organizations is therefore a significant challenge for an organization like ours.
We want to make others aware of who we are, what we do and why our industry sectors deserve to be given a greater visibility on the radar screens of Australian decision-makers. Networking is a good way to assist this work.
[Brett Simpson is President IICA.]