Talent, techniques, advanced tools key to future engineering success, says former NSF official

"In anticipating the future, we must recognize that civilization is on the brink of a new industrial world order," IEEE Fellow Dr. Joseph Bordogna said during his keynote address at the IEEE-USA Leadership Workshop in St. Louis on 4 March.

"Success will not be garnered by those who simply make commodities faster and cheaper than the competition. They will be those who develop talent, techniques and tools so advanced that competitive capability can be continually robust." Bordogna is a former deputy director (1999-2005) and chief operating officer of the National Science Foundation, and served as IEEE president in 1998. His address, "Round, Flat or Spiky, the World Turns on an Axis," provided his vision on how engineers can contribute to future innovation in a world undergoing swift and constant technological transformation.

"Engineers will have to be effective collaborators, innovators, risk takers, and communicators, working across shifting boundaries, and embracing diversity," Bordogna said. "They will need to know the human and social dimensions of technology. Our social and economic progress depends upon it. All of you carry the excitement and the responsibility to make it happen."

Bordogna, now the Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, added that "creative transformation" -- the process of converting energy to momentum -- is the flip side of "creative destruction":

"That process -- energy to momentum -- which engineers certainly embrace, speaks directly to the excitement and inspiration of integrative 21st century science and engineering innovation at the frontier. Propelled by advances in genomics, materials, computer-communications, and advances in cognition, mathematics and social science, our profession is on the verge of new, exhilarating frontiers."

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To read the entire Bordogna address, go to http://www.ieeeusa.org/calendar/conferences/2006workshop/Presentations/Bordogna-keynote.pdf

IEEE-USA advances the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of more than 220,000 engineers, scientists and allied professionals who are U.S. members of the IEEE. IEEE-USA is part of the IEEE, the world's largest technical professional society with 360,000 members in 150 countries. For more information, go to http://www.ieeeusa.org.


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