The EPSC??? What Is It?

James W. Cortada

James W. Cortada, chair of the IEEE Computer Society Emerging Products & Services Committee, is a historian specializing in the business and economic history of information and information technologies. Currently a Fellow at University of Minnesota's Charles Babbage Institute Jim spent over 38 years at IBM in various sales, consulting, management, and executive positions. Jim is active in the IEEE Computer Society, American Historical Association, and sits on the board of directors of the IT History Society. All these activities have influenced his research. He is currently exploring the role of information and information tools in American society since 1875, particularly their use in business.

Simply put, this is the IEEE Computer Society’s gearbox for driving its engine of innovation.  OK, it is where new ideas for the Computer Society are received, converting a thought to action about how to make the organization more valuable to its members.  More than a “suggestion box,” it is a committee made up of reps from all parts of the CS and includes academics and industry leaders. These reps are devoted to taking ideas about new services, offerings, products, and programs that CS members think should be implemented and get them implemented.

The Emerging Products & Services Committee—EPSC—is designed to be a one-stop destination for dropping off a good idea. The idea can be anything from a new class, software tool, or conference to a fresh way to improve member recruitment or raise new revenue, or enhance the role of CS in the world economy.  It eliminates the need on your part to have to figure out where in the CS to take your thoughts. Let EPSC navigate the organization for you.

Here is how it works.  You get a great idea for a new Special Technical Community (STC), journal, training program or whatever. You fill out a short form in less than 5 minutes, briefly describing your idea and why the CS should do it. You don’t need a formal business plan and spreadsheets, just a couple of sentences to get going, and your contact information. You can even have friends who are not yet members of the CS do the same thing. Good ideas can come from anywhere.

The EPSC takes your idea and fires it off to whomever in the Computer Society should run with it, or we pull together volunteers to figure out how to implement it. Our intent is to take action quickly. Check out the idea submission form. Check it out, and use it wisely to help yourself and all your colleagues.

Why do we have the EPSC? Your Board of Governors wants the CS to continue the process of becoming increasingly more agile and responsive to the needs of its members. Technology continues to change quickly; the effects of those on your work and careers are transforming rapidly too. Hearing from members that we need to be even quicker on our feet, we built on earlier good work by the EPSC to evolve into an innovation skunk works. In future blogs we will discuss its activities.

If you find the EPSC can do an even better job, reach out to me—its chair—as I am on the hot seat to deliver results. Even better, if you have entrepreneurial experience and the ability to make things happen, reach out to me or through the EPSC idea process so that we can channel your energies in ways that make sense to you.

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