Three Future-Focused Strategies for the Bold Association

Shaping the future can take bold and innovative strategies. Here are three you might borrow from some very astute associations:    

  1. Monitoring and managing the state of the field’s workforce.  Have you analyzed the supply and demand in your workforce? What is driving change in that balance? Are you aware of changing job requirements and working to keep your members current?  Do you have your eye on emerging employment opportunities?  First you have to do the scanning and research to understand the dynamics in the workforce marketplace, then you can decide where you can best intervene.  At least one Signature i client is now implementing a major redesign of education preparation, certification and career advancement for its profession.   
  2. Exploiting the blurring boundaries among professions and industries. In a world that is moving as quickly as ours toward multidisciplinary teams and emerging specialties, associations are smart to reconsider how the identity of their members might be changing and even whether the association’s purpose and programs could expand to cross these boundaries.  Membership categories and qualifications can be too narrowly defined for the changing reality in an association’s world. To begin, try to understand who has already crossed your boundaries and why?         
  3. Driving technology innovation and design.  Associations usually do know which technologies could make their members more effective; they just rarely see their role as incubator or venture capitalist or even convener of an innovation network. When the US government has its R&D programs running on short rations, some sector has to step in. Do associations really have to wait for business to see the opportunity in their field or could they step it up and do the job themselves?

We’ll be on the lookout for other bold moves your associations should consider.  Your association has more power to lead change than you are using.