• ISA creates a blueprint for implementing its strategic goals

    In my February column in ISA Insights, I provided an update on ISA’s Executive Summit, which was held in late January 2015. As you know, the purpose of the meeting was to review our goals, summarize our position, and to ultimately develop a plan moving forward. For me, meetings like these are exciting as they bring together key ISA leaders, staff, and volunteers who all have a common interest in working together to grow ISA.

    We accomplished a lot during those two days. Many important questions were raised, all relevant and needed to formulate a plan that will propel ISA to the next level. What’s it going to take for us to be successful? What types of resources are needed for implementation? Is it feasible to expect completion of all goals by the end of 2015?

    Again, as a reminder, toward the end of the Summit, all attendees were divided into five groups. Each group was assigned one of ISA’s five strategic goals. Each group determined the diamonds (too valuable to lose), flaws (create barriers to success), and issues (challenges we know but cannot decide on what to do) involved in the meeting each goal. Each group also identified the drivers (circumstances that drive us to change or adapt our vision) and restrainers (roadblocks or issues that restrain us from success) of change. At the conclusion of the Summit, the groups submitted their findings and recommendations needed to create a timeline for implementing action plans.

    Objectives for 2015 and Beyond: Goal by Goal

    Below, I have combined and summarized all five groups’ recommendations according to the five ISA goals.


    • Identify key stakeholder groups (staff and volunteers) and determine appropriate and relevant metrics for each group. Identify frequencies for each. Begin development of a dashboard pertaining to one area and expand development based on success/lessons learned.
    • Determine a list of external data points that we should be tracking and at what frequency.
    • Develop a model for sun-setting products.
    • Pinpoint resources needed and best practices from other organizations.
    • Assign metrics for evaluating progress on five strategic goals.


    • Develop relevant and timely content in the form of standards, training, publications, conferences and more.
    • Address and anticipate market needs for ISA products/services.
    • Identify the technology transfer and career development needs of automation professionals.

    Coolest Delivery

    • Develop tools for content developers.
    • Develop new apps.
    • Establish subject-matter expert chat room/blog.
    • Emphasize video production and distribution.


    • Develop new products to monetize/leverage position.
    • Better position and market ISA as global authority and sustain supportive initiatives of the Automation Federation.
    • Fortify partnership with International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).


    • Develop programs and initiatives that address STEM initiatives.
    • Enhance workforce development opportunities for young professionals, mid-career professionals, and others—including veterans—who want to transition from other careers to the automation profession.
    • Address the aging workforce via retiree mentoring and contract work programs.
    • Forge partnerships and initiatives to advocate diversity in engineering.

    Please note that these are high-level objectives. Each objective contains detailed lists of tasks and milestones assigned for implementation and completion. Many of the objectives are expected to be completed in 2015; however, some initiatives may start in 2015 and be carried forward.

    At a meeting of ISA leaders and the ISA Strategic Planning Committee—which was held 18 February—ISA staff and departments  were assigned to implement each set of recommendations. These recommendations, as well as the ISA leadership assignments needed to support them, are subject to review and final approval by the ISA Board when it convenes on 20 March.  When the Board renders its approval on these matters, ISA leaders, staff and volunteers will work together on the specific initiatives that will move ISA toward achieving its strategic objectives.

    I’m eager to provide you with more details and share with you our progress in upcoming columns. This is such an exciting time to be a part of ISA. Take this opportunity to become more involved or to take a leadership role. ISA needs the talents and insights of each member as together we will build a stronger, more vibrant Society!

    Rick Roop
    2015 ISA President