Happy New Year to the SEGD community!
2017 was another strong year for SEGD and the ongoing development of the association, the fifth in a row, in fact. As we say "thank you and farewell" to John Lutz after his two-year term as SEGD President ends and say "hello" to Bryan Meszaros as he starts his two-year term, it is worth reflecting on the journey we have been on the past five years, and, where we are going from here.
John Lutz summed up SEGD's year and the great progress that the organization made in 2017 in his final President's Update.
The growth of SEGD's membership was the key performance indicator where we saw the largest gains in 2017, clocking in at an increase of 17 percent. Looking back at the data over a five year period reveals a healthy picture; SEGD membership has grown over 75 percent since the end of 2012. In 2017, we eclipsed 2,000 members for the first time! Thank you for supporting your professional association—I know you would not be signing up and opting for recurring membership payments if you were not seeing value from your membership. Please know that we are on a constant quest to improve value for members and are releasing new and valuable services every few months.
You will not see the same rate of releases through 2018. But, why?
This is the fifth year of development on our present website. Through 2018, we will be working on an upgrade that will be released in 2019. Whereas in 2012 the infrastructure of SEGD was not digitized or connected, today as an association, we are on the cutting edge through having our data and operations integrated into one database infrastructure. This infrastructure has allowed many advantages for members and the greater community, from better knowledge and intelligence about the profession (available to members only), to easy updating of profiles and information and a fully functional content index that allows multiple ways to access data depending on what questions you are trying to answer about experiential graphic design.
The 2015 SEGD Strategic Planset the association on a value-creation path to (at least) double the value of SEGD's member benefits by creating new digital benefits. The goal was to supplement our reputation as the friendliest and most open association by becoming a vital resource for the community. We planned to do this by developing new digital benefits for members that would be available anywhere, anytime. We understand that in today's business environment, people are time-starved and need virtual member benefits as much as physical ones. The goal was to achieve a one-to-one ratio of physical networking and digital value before the end of 2018. We have already surpassed that goal. However, we operate on a never-ending innovation/improvement cycle. We are not about to stop developing member value anytime soon, primarily because SEGD is not yet a vital resource to the community.
What's Next? Skills Training.
SEGD's next big membership value project will take a few years to implement but thankfully got underway last year. In the "Skills Survey" sent out in early 2017 (and in many other surveys that I have looked at), members have expressed the importance of professional skills training to their practice. The 2017 Skills Surveywas revealing in that it showed the importance that firm leaders placed on professional practice core competencies versus environmental graphic design core competencies. A few years back, some excellent work was done by the Education Steering Committee to define the environmental graphic design core competencies, but we had not yet defined the professional practice core competencies. The first version of Professional Practice Core Competencies has been published based on the inputs of the community. I do not doubt that this topic will develop further in time.
Core competencies training is a complex topic. We already have over 100 skills-training courses available in the SEGD online store. However, there are only a handful in the arena of professional practice. Most of the courses are about improving design skills and tips on practice. There are really valuable lessons in the courses available and although a lot of work has already been put into organizing and indexing them better, it is still not easy to understand what the courses contain and what you can learn from each one. We are working on improving access to great content through 2018.
In April, we will host our first professional practice core competence workshop: "Management for Designers." This event will be your chance to develop a more business-like alter ego. The workshop will be the first event in a series over the next few years that will build the SEGD professional practice training catalog.
Also, we will be working on filling gaps where we do not have enough content to support the core competencies, reorganizing the existing course material and bringing it up to a standard that is suitable for the experiential graphic design community.
Make no mistake, while you might not see our progress immediately in 2018, it will be one of our most significant and possibly important growth years for the profession with the implementation of "SEGD.org v2.0" and the upgrades to the course materials. We will enter 2019 with a big upgrade to our member value, once again!
Here's to a fantastic, productive and satisfying 2018!