Long-Term Strategic Planning at INCE-USA

By Gordon Ebbitt
Ebbitt Acoustical Consulting, LLC

There are many key activities at INCE-USA. Among them are the Noise Control Engineering Journal (NCEJ), INCE Board Certification (now run as an independent board and open to nonmembers of INCE-USA), yearly technical conferences (INTER-NOISE when it is in the United States and NOISE-CON when it is not), and the INCE Digital Library (which contains all NCEJ articles as well as all INTER-NOISE and NOISE-CON proceedings). Though the leadership of INCE-USA is proud of these activities, the institute is always looking for ways to expand its activities to better meet the needs of its members, the noise control engineering community, and the public. To that end, the institute has met to develop plans to better serve these groups.

Strategic planning meetings were held during the INCE-USA Board of Directors meeting in January 2019 and have continued through conference calls and a second meeting at NOISE-CON 2019. The meetings have involved all board members, INCE-USA officers, and staff, along with specialists in strategic planning from Virtual, Inc., which serves as the INCE-USA business office.

As part of this activity, our vision and mission statements have been evaluated and are being streamlined and updated to bring them in line with the current state of noise control engineering and the goals of INCE-USA. Some final details are still being worked out, but the new statements are nearly ready to provide direction for the institute’s future plans.

In addition to the vision and mission statements, specific strategic plans are being considered. During an initial brainstorming session, 13 strategic initiatives were identified. Those were ranked in importance, and 3 have been chosen for immediate development: (1) increasing the awareness of the public and the engineering community regarding the effects of noise and noise control engineering solutions, (2) enhancing INCE-USA’s online educational activities, and (3) promoting and expanding the INCE-USA technical activities committees.

To increase awareness in noise and noise control, INCE-USA will be considering social media and other means to engage the engineering community and the public. Another activity that will be considered is public outreach sessions. These have already been conducted at several NOISE-CONs. In some cases, sessions have been directed toward the general public; in others, teachers have been given kits to demonstrate acoustic principles. Whether these will be continued or whether other methods should be used to reach the public will be considered. Another initiative being considered is the development of a product noise rating (PNR). This would be a noise rating that would provide product labeling for noise. This would be similar to the energy rating labels that are currently used for home appliances.

INCE-USA already provides a series of noise control courses. Their satisfactory completion can fulfill part of the requirement for INCE Board Certification. INCE-USA will consider expanding these efforts and also will consider additional courses, conference workshops, streamed conference sessions, webinars, and other means to disseminate information. The online digital library, which is available to all I-INCE member societies, will also be enhanced and promoted.

The INCE-USA technical activities committees provide forums for members to exchange ideas. They also provide a lot of the organization’s need to create sessions for the conferences held in the United States. Steps are being taken to enhance meeting opportunities for these committees at INCE-USA conferences, support the work of the committees, develop new committees as new areas become important, and make it easier for these groups to contribute to the conferences.

Though some initial steps are already underway, the general scope and the specific tasks to support these initiatives are still being worked out. The specific activities noted above may or may not make it into the final plans. In the coming months, INCE-USA will be finalizing those plans and will see how they fit with the overall strategic long-term goals of the institute. It’s an exciting time! Because our goals are directed toward the general noise control engineering community and the public, the institute welcomes comments and contributions from everyone. If you have ideas for new INCE-USA activities, please send an email to the INCE-USA business office at ibo@inceusa.org.