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Message from the INCOSE President No 8 - Looking forward to 2021

by Christine Kowalski | Nov 23, 2020

Dear INCOSE Members,

Well, the year 2020 has been quite a year!  Whether you experienced highs or lows, it continues to truly be very memorable.  However, I do think the full impact of the turbulence of 2020 will not be evident until we are well into next year.  It is how we continue to serve our members, our community, and our discipline, while shaping the future of systems and systems engineering that will be our test.  I am confident we will continue to progress in all our endeavours.  I believe INCOSE has positioned itself as a technical organisation that can absorb, adopt and/or adapt, while advancing its vision and executing its mission.

I’d like to recap on some of the decisions we have made in 2020 in the face of natural disasters, COVID19 pandemic, adversities to humanity, and economic upheavals.

  • We adopted “Zoom” as our preferred video conferencing application over our existing applications. This has had a magnitude increase in usage and satisfaction with our members.
  • Microsoft Teams has been introduced to improve our collaboration activities across working groups, special projects, communities and chapters.
  • The International Symposium IS2020 and now the International Workshop IW2021 are fully virtual events. INCOSE in collaboration with our Events Organiser, KMD, developed a very good, fully integrated virtual platform for IS2020 that can be scaled to support many other types of events. For IW2021, we will continue to introduce new virtual capabilities – so stay tuned and join us at IW2021. A short video will be available describing the IW2021 program highlights for you.
  • We increased our offering of events in addition to IS, IW and webinars with the debut of system exchange cafes, showcase webinars, workshops and mini events. All of these you can participate in virtually. Every two weeks there is at least one INCOSE virtual event at the international level you can join. And, if we consider our offerings at the sector, regional and local levels, this number is just further magnified. At no time in the history of INCOSE has this been achieved. In 2021 we would like to continue to provide you this benefit.
  • Consideration for membership support to individuals and organisations has been worked on a case by case basis to ease financial burden where possible.
  • Certification is an area that we had to make some hard decisions in light of world constraints. We could not and still do not offer paper exams where travel is prohibited and/or social distancing is not possible. Likewise, some of our members were struggling to earn their minimum number of Professional Development Units (PDUs) to renew their qualification in 2020.In recognition of the increased hardship we extended the certification exam eligibility period to 31 Mar 2021 for all those whose exam eligibility would have expired in 2020, and lowered the number of PDUs required for renewals in 2020. We have also deferred introducing the scheduled application fee increase by 1 year, and we are very close to introducing the option of taking online exams. These adjustments serve both the Certification program and our members in striving to achieve or maintain this internationally recognised qualification.
  • In spite of our travel direction on prohibiting air travel and face-to-face meetings on INCOSE related business throughout the year, we have continued to perform well on all our working groups and community activities, and special project initiatives. In fact, the virtual space has in most cases, increased the collaboration with greater remote participation, both in numbers and in the number of group meetings. We are making great strides in the SE Vision 2035 initiative, in updates to the SE Handbook Edition 5, in crystallising the Future of SE (FuSE) activities, in progressing the Human Systems Integration (HSI) working group activities, just to name a few. Our SEBoK is regularly exceeding the number of visitors set previously, including a record month of over 42,000 visitors just recently, a testimony to the wealth of knowledge and information it provides to the community. And if you aren’t aware, SEBoK version 2.3 went live recently – well done to all involved.
  • Regarding travel restrictions for the immediate future, we respect the guidance provided by your authorised authorities. We will not be asking any INCOSE member/volunteer to travel on INCOSE business, including events, that would be in contradiction or violation of such guidance. This decision will be reviewed at the end of March 2021, with the hopeful expectation we can ease travel restrictions.
  • We have faced many challenges in our Outreach program in 2020, primarily due to the pressures every organisation, institution and domain has faced under the 2020 global constraints, which in turn has minimised opportunities to open discussions on possible collaborations. However, we are very proud to announce that all our negotiations we had in work have all been fulfilled in 2020, including 7 new alliances and 3 new certification academic equivalency agreements. Well done to the teams! Our focus in 2021 will be to “get out there” and start focusing or re-focusing on domains where we expect to have the greatest synergies and/or need our SE skills.

The execution of these decisions has been pivotal in our progression.  I do hope that you can reflect on these.  Should you have further recommendations or ideas please do not hesitate to let myself or any of the Board of Directors know.  You can do this directly or through the “Ask the Board” website (located in INCOSE Connect), another initiative we introduced in 2020.  And prior to year-end you will all be recipients of a new INCOSE brochure detailing INCOSE the organisation, our achievements in 2020 and our focus in near future.  I hope you enjoy it and will share it with your family, colleagues, employers and other organisations.

On a final note, a BIG thank you all our INCOSE volunteers and members.  We couldn’t have navigated this tumultuous year without your dedication and passion.  I wish you, your families, friends and colleagues the very best. 

Keep well, keep safe.  Enjoy your 2020 year-end festivities.

Kerry Lunney
INCOSE President