director at the IET, entertained and enlightened attendees at our membership seminar last week. Here Adrian Porter tells you what you missed at our first membership seminar.
Attendees at Thursday’s seminar to launch our new sector report, Membership organisations: big challenges, digital answers? were both captivated and entertained by Michelle’s account of how the Institution of Engineering and Technology is embracing the digital world.
In her role as Membership and Professional Development Director at the IET since 2006, Michelle has overseen a real life digital implementation journey that has its roots in the IET’s strategic vision and objectives for the 21st century.
Michelle started her talk by revealing a visualisation of the IET’s strategy, a remarkably concise and instantly understandable diagram that rather impressively represents the consolidation of a ’72 slide deck’!
Despite not being one of our clients, and with us not knowing exactly what Michelle was going to say in her presentation, the resonance between the approach adopted by the IET to their digital development and the recommendations contained in our report was quite deafening. Michelle showed us how consideration of the IET’s strategic priorities combined with an understanding of her members’ life stage engagement with the IET has manifested itself in an innovation roadmap which directly translates into a series of digital initiatives.
Michelle revealed how it had not all been plain sailing as when the IET decided to produce a digital version of its magazine for potential young Indian members. Despite this apparently innovative approach she revealed that the digital magazine had not gone down well with its intended audience as the students wanted a printed magazine to show their parents in support of their career choice.
Much more successful and very impressive was Michelle’s description of the IET’s work in China where they maintain a Chinese language microsite and a presence on the largest social networking site (Weibo) maintained by Chinese members.
Attendees were also impressed by the IET having managed to rationalise its web presence into a series of vertical, audience specific sections as well as its development of its own TV site.
Michelle concluded by saying that there was still lots of work to be done, and to the surprise of some attendees pointed out that despite all that had been achieved in creating a very good website the journey was by no means over since part of the IET’s plan is to review and potentially redesign the site in the next couple of years.
One thing that was evident from Michelle’s presentation was the commitment of the IET as a whole to a digital, forward-thinking future. Talking to delegates it was clear that for many the lack of senior buy-in to a similar strategic digital future was one of the biggest barriers they faced.
In the coming weeks I will be highlighting the steps that need to be taken to embed digital in your organisation’s psyche and how to obtain senior stakeholder buy-in.
In the meantime, have a peak at the slides from the event and do please join the Digital Membership Professionals LinkedIn group where we hope to facilitate debate and discussion for you and your peers around the digital landscape for membership organisations.