20 February 2019
In previous letters, I’ve mentioned the rapidly changing technological environment in which we work and our responsibility to face it head-on, not reactively. Adapting and adopting new ways to improve upon processes, methods, and communications is crucial. “Step outside of the box” is a popular way to tell someone to try something new. I believe it is of great import to not merely “step outside of the box,” but rather “break the box” that has constrained your ideas of communications, engagement, and knowledge sharing.
The NDT industry has been challenged to keep pace with technology and trends of knowledge sharing. Conference calls and emails are still all too common in an age of technology that, literally, puts endless knowledge at our fingertips and avenues to share it within seconds. It is easy to become complacent with our connectivity to our industry peers when we aren’t in search of specific information or assistance. We should reframe our outlook on engagement from being need-based to always-ready. I’m not advocating for anyone to be on social media or looking at a computer/phone screen all day. I am encouraging everyone to have social media accounts, follow blogs, or sign up for topical newsletters so you have the opportunity to be connected in a timely manner to what’s happening in NDT and ASNT. As you all know, our daily lives are impacted by a 24-hour news cycle with information with product and technology development almost keeping that same pace. You are reading this letter in the print Materials Evaluation (ME), digital ME, or as a link through ASNT News on the website. We understand our constituents are mobile and busy. The choice to provide both ME and The NDT Technician (TNT) digitally is ASNT’s recognition of needing to meet our membership and stakeholders where they are. We spread this philosophy to every aspect of the organization.
NDT has to be responsive and agile to industry changes and innovations to remain effective and keep the commitment to safety. ASNT’s topical conferences, like the upcoming NDT of Composites, are one way that ASNT keeps the rapidly changing environment in which we work an ongoing discussion. The International Symposium on Nondestructive Characterization of Materials, hosted by ASNT in Slovenia, shows our commitment to knowledge sharing and expanding our reach. This foray into using our world-class expertise to produce an event abroad is breaking the box of traditional ASNT event planning. The use of an event navigation app to enhance attendee experience at ASNT events is another way ASNT engages with busy attendees that appreciate the convenience of scheduling, site maps, and contact information no further than their phone.
Over the past year, as Board officers traveled to section meetings, a need was highlighted—the ability to share information and quality content during section meetings when a speaker may not be able to appear in person. An idea developed, of curating a repository of videos that are accessible, timely, and informative/educational. During the ASNT Annual Conference in Houston, presenters were given the opportunity to have their presentations recorded for future use by sections and to be banked as knowledge-sharing resources. The platform and delivery details are still in development, but we are looking forward to a formal rollout soon. Attending section meetings is important in identifying additional supports needed and allowing officers the chance to impact change, as they have with this initiative.
With social media sites and email, the level of engagement and the desire to share and communicate has increased exponentially. We have ramped up our social media engagement to present ASNT news and share industry information curated from different sources. From event promotion to sharing an interesting industry story, social media is a timely way to disseminate information and be part of the conversation. Follow ASNT on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram to get notified when the organization makes a post. By all means, if you have a shareable post or industry information that ASNT’s followers should know about, make sure you tag ASNT at #ASNT and also #NDT. As technology evolves, there could be an ASNT app or NDT game in the future to share information and educate one another. (Neither are presently being discussed or in production, so don’t save space on your phone for them just yet.)
ASNT began featuring the “President’s Letter” published in ME on our corporate LinkedIn page beginning with current ASNT Chairperson of the Board David A. Mandina. His retelling of personal experiences was compelling to those familiar with NDT as well as those outside of the industry because they were authentic and read as a conversation one would have, garnering great praise in the posts’ comments. Being relatable and meeting people where they are matters.
ASNT member Kyle Payne recently made a video sharing his experience preparing for and taking the ASNT NDT Level III exams. He posted his video to LinkedIn, tagging ASNT, NDT, certification, and others. Anyone searching for NDT or ASNT will see his post among the results. This is a perfect example of how shifting our views of knowledge sharing from a classroom or meeting to a universally accessible medium not only moves the message among our discrete networks but allows global digital engagement. The ASNT Marketing Communications team saw the message and quickly credited Payne for his creation and shared it across our network. Payne shared original thoughts and content. Each of us have an industry anecdote to tell of a lessoned learned, “ah-ha” moment, or announcement of an accomplishment. Be fearless in sharing your information. Be a conversation starter. You may have been a thought leader for years, but no one has heard you because you didn’t find the venue or you didn’t think you were ready. Put formality aside and simply share.
We, as an industry, often discuss the need to attract young people in ways that resonate with them—reaching them on the platforms with which they have been raised and use daily. That is why this conversation is needed now and why we should all take heed. Every day there is valuable industry knowledge shared in many different ways. As your professional organization, ASNT is deeply committed to staying at the forefront of emerging technologies and innovations to remain relevant and best communicate and engage with you, our members, and the general public in the best way possible.
As always, feel free to reach out to me with your thoughts.
ASNT Executive Director