As public works professionals, we are well aware that advancing technology is one of the big change-agents in our world of infrastructure-based public services. On the back on the 2020 pandemic lockdowns, the transition to low-carbon lifestyles is gaining pace, providing new opportunities for our communities to demand that we use new technologies to improve public works outcomes through enhanced energy efficiency and reducing emissions.
It is no easy feat to predict precisely how technology will affect our sector, but lessons from other industries show significant disruption to legacy business models. Like the iPod for the music sector and now Tesla to the car industry, technology has changed these businesses.
Sectors such as ours that require high levels of social intelligence and engineering are positioned to enable adaptation to technological – and climate change – disruption. And to get the new year off on the right track, in March 2021, IPWEA is holding two forums to help continue and build the conversation. These are the Road Infrastructure Management Forum in Napier and the Land Development Engineers Forum in Christchurch (see the IPWEA NZ website https://www.ipwea.org/newzealand/training-nz/upcomingevents for more information)
A big reason for going to these forums is to meet with likeminded people and industry peers. IPWEA works to ensure that we continue to make space to bring together people from all our different geographical areas who share a common interest field. We design these events to be a great way to meet new people in your field too.
2020 was a challenging year, but still, a lot got done. SpaceX moved quickly to having nearly 900 of its planned 1,440 satellites in orbit – with a typical launch rate of 60 satellites per launch. At our March forums, you will hear a lot about things in your field that will be new to you. These could be new techniques, new types of equipment, or learn from thought-leaders.
But something essential for our sector to grow and develop is to present your ideas and work to others. It’s good practice in talking about what you do with various people from similar or related areas. It’s a safe way to get feedback and new ideas to help provide perspective about your work and opportunities you may not have seen yet for taking it to the next level.
It may not seem like a notable thing, but IPWEA forums are also a good way for people to meet you. Regardless if you are a middle manager or a graduate, you may meet someone at a break session, at a presentation or in the hallway the. Within a few minutes, you can make a connection with someone that could dramatically impact your professional career.