Science and Tech Group Report August 2019
26th August 2019
Editorial September 2019
26th August 2019

David Stonier-Gibson

The club’s Annual General Meeting will take place on 6th November. That is when we elect a new committee for the coming year. I have been nominated for President next year by John Hall (President), seconded by Stephen Zuluaga (Vice President).

I was urged to stand by several people I respect. I expressed my willingness subject to John Hall making himself available to support and advise as required, and certain others nominating for Committee. I am hoping we get a 2020 committee that combines the energy of young,progressive members, the stabilising influence and recognition of club history of some older members, and hopefully some representatives of non-Moorabbin SIGs.

It’s a little over six years since I joined Melb PC, with an interest only in the Microcontroller SIG. Over the last 2-3 years, as I expanded
my horizon outside Microcontrollers to a larger “Moorabbin wide” view, I have instigated or been involved in a number of programs. Some have been successful, some have withered and died on the vine, or simply gone dormant for want of the right push at the right time. What I have learned from this is that you need not only a champion for a new undertaking, but also one or more “co-champions” so they can prop each other up when the passion hits a flat spot.

I hope I will (if elected!) be able to bring something positive to the club. I have many ideas, but I also know it is very difficult to
implement ideas without on the ground, practical support from others. No one person can have the energy and  the full skill set to bring a non-trivial project to fruition single-handedly. I am also painfully aware that I am in many ways the new boy on the block, that my view of the club has been been somewhat myopically focused on tech, “making”, micros and Moorabbin, and that there is a lot of significant club history I am unaware of. That is why I will seek to consult other longer term members on issues like non-Moorabbin (“regional”) SIGs, the needs of older members, and club processes and procedures.

But there is something I believe is ultimately even more important: A long term vision and goal. Where do we see the club being in 5 years? 10 years? Maybe even 15 years? I don’t have a clear vision, although by default I have been promoting a transformation into a Maker club. There are huge questions that need answering (not implying the answers here!): How many members will we have? What demographic? Will we still call Moorabbin home (will it even be affordable)? Can regional SIGs survive? What benefits will we be able to offer the membership of 2024, 2028, 2033?

I can’t answer those questions on my own. But the answers to those and other similarly challenging questions are what will form a vision of our club going forward, they are what will define our long term goals and where we are headed. Those answers should also inform the decisions we make during 2020 so we can be confident that every decision, every expenditure of energy and funds, every change we make, we will help steer us in the right, agreed upon, direction. We can only aim for a destination, become proactive rather than reactive, if we know the destination. (It’s called a business plan!).

For the last two years on committee I have often said or thought that the presidency is a poisoned chalice. This especially from seeing JohnHall and Stewart Gruneklee (as treasurer) stuck with the legacy of legal and Workcover matters (that I was blissfully unaware of at the time) and some poor business decisions trying to replicate past glories in a changed world. But those issues are now behind us and we can start to consolidate and stabilise the existing club and plan the transformations that will take us into the future.

I invite you to post any ideas you may have about the long range future of our club on Yammer:All Company. I will take note of inputs but probably not respond – not only am I away until 1st October, but I also would like to see what comes up without influencing or commenting.

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