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I&R needs to change how it handles data, and fortunately AIRS is providing leadership and action on this by developing a linked data strategy. As AIRS continues its progress with the linked data strategy, the rest of I&R should begin preparing for the advent of I&R linked data.
What is an API? What is Linked Data? How did this come about?
If you’re up-to-date on the linked data strategy, skip this section. In 2014, AIRS recognized the need to develop an application-programming interface (API) for I&R data. This would allow the I&R data stores more accessible to each other and to the outside world, and enable key technologies such as mobile app development.
Without getting too technical, AIRS decided eventually on a “linked data” strategy. This strategy would give each data item a series of uniform characteristics that make them index-able. It’s similar to the way search engines like Google work. For example, when you search for “How to make eggs benedict,” Google displays a list of recipes. This is possible because the website-makers told Google that their content is indeed a “recipe,” and that the recipe is for “eggs benedict,” and so on. This may be an over-simplified analogy but you get the basic idea.
I&R’s Next Huge API Hurdle
The development of the linked data strategy is a tremendously technical task that is in capable hands. But once the AIRS team has built the “airplane,” how are we going to fly it? Where will it take off and how is it going to land? These are questions that I&R leaders should be exploring immediately.
For instance, one major issue will be data management. Data is a shared digital resource that needs to be maintained, like water in a swimming pool. If it’s left to stagnate, it’ll get funky. It’s too costly a job for just one organization to maintain and having everyone chip in a little effort is laborious to implement.
Another issue is getting all the service providers on the same page in regards to data management. Linked data is a great strategy but it requires some unification and industry-wide change. For example, everyone has to agree to standards and adapt their businesses to include these guidelines. The diverse interests of I&R providers could make this difficult.
These are just some of the tasks I&R must begin to address, and no doubt more obstacles will surface. AIRS is taking a huge step forward on behalf of I&R, but implementing the linked data strategy will be a major undertaking even after the technology is developed. To prepare, I&R leaders should begin receiving direction on how to get ready for the advent linked data.
Being head of a volunteer committee is your time to shine. However, you’ll only succeed if you can identify and properly execute the proper committee development strategies.
Use these strategies to develop your committee and set them up for success:
Connect to leadership. Volunteer committee members must feel like their work is being recognized and appreciated, and this may involve participation and the highest levels of an organization.
Try to connect your volunteer committee with an executive or some higher board, if one exists. This way, your professional volunteers are making connections, staying motivating, and getting a great overall feeling about the importance of their work.
Have a strategy for overcoming knowledge gaps. Advisory committees often strive to have a wide breadth of knowledge. While this is a great idea, it may lead to a shortfall of knowledge if the committee focuses deeply on something.
Consider instigating advisory positions for your committee. This could be guest members who participate but do not have the full commitment of members.
Plan for growth and recruitment. If you are leading a permanent committee, always be thinking about sustainability. This is something you probably can’t do alone.
Set clear expectations with committee members that they will be expected to refer possible members or advisors. This doesn’t mean they will have to jockey professional relationships, but they should nonetheless feel compelled to keep their eyes and ears open for possible recruits at all hours of the work day.
Develop strong relationships. Work can bring people closer together, and this enhances the quality and effectiveness of the work. Unfortunately, technology can take the human element out of this, and telecommunication (a popular method for volunteer boards) can hinder relationship development.
The tech committee leader should be mindful of the ways relationships are developing as the committee progresses. The committee leader should shake things up the event that people just aren’t warming up to each other, and assign partnerships are special tasks.
Build awareness of committee value. Do people appreciate what your volunteer committee does? This is critical for morale, especially for new committee.
Tap into your organization’s regular publications or media channels to plug the good work of your committee.
Aaron G. Blackledge has served on numerous local and national boards and committees. To schedule a free 30-minute consultation, contact Aaron today.