How change means fresh opportunity

Posted on 01/09/2018 by IED

New Chair of the IED Colin Ledsome considers ways in which the membership can help take the Institution to the next all-important level

A time of change gives a chance to look at where we are and try to see where we might be going. The IED sits in a unique position. We are at the intersection between engineering and product design. Engineering is a field of expertise that covers a broad range of activity, from speculation on what it is technically possible to do, how to do it, and the operation, maintenance and final disposal of what has been done.

It’s the ‘How to do it’ part where design comes in. Designing products is a task also covering a broad range from simple items to ease the flow of human activity, to the provision of the vital products and infrastructure on which we depend. A design engineer is an engineer who mainly carries out functional design and knows when to ask for help when other aspects of the product need different expertise. A technological product designer is a designer with a strong appreciation of the human interaction with products and enough familiarity with the way they function to design ones that work (or occasionally call in the engineers). Thus, an engineering designer is a designer who designs things that work and keep the customers happy.

Our engineering membership makes us the 12th largest of the 35 professional bodies affiliated to the Engineering Council. We also have a growing number of product design members in a wide range of industries. We have links with many other bodies, from the British Standards Institution to the British Interplanetary Society (and that’s just me!).The connections we make with others give the IED a respected voice and an influence in many forums, allowing us to ‘punch above our weight’.

We have many decisions to make about our future. Our financial situation implies we must make better use of our assets, particularly our headquarters at Courtleigh, to give us more scope for investing in our future activities and meeting our members’ needs. We could also look at possible partnerships with like-minded organisations to the benefit of both, locally and nationally. Council is also considering ways to broaden our membership by offering a professional home to those in areas of expertise that support design activities, with analysis, research, testing, model building and other activities.

You can help. Use your designatory letters to show your affiliation. Promote membership to others in your organisation. Tell us what you want the IED to do for you. Write a piece for the journal, passing on your opinions and experiences to the rest of us (contact the editor). Join an IED committee to help us serve our members and plan our future. As the saying goes: ‘We need you!’


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