During the first part of November, I had the pleasure of attending World Standards Week in the United States capital, Washington, DC. Being new to Techstreet, I had my first experience celebrating the history of standards and witnessing the dedication of those in our industry who promote a better and safer tomorrow. As I attended sessions and collaborated with peers, I found myself thinking about how standards got us to Washington, DC safely and swiftly, and assisted us throughout the week.
If standards made this one event possible, imagine what they mean to us on a daily basis. From the comforts of our homes to the cars we drive; from the roads we use to airports, hospitals, government, military, technology, etc. You name it, standards play a vital role.
Photo by: Brandon White
Celebrating the significance of World Standards Day and Week
Launched in 1970, World Standards Day promotes international standardization and the creation of voluntary standards in everything and anything – things like travel efficiency, cleaner energy, safety and security measures.
The event recognizes the critical role of stakeholders across the standards community, including those from business, industry, academia and government. It promotes awareness of the importance of global standardization to the world economy, and pays tribute to thousands of global volunteers who participate in standardization activities.
World Standards Day is recognized worldwide with conferences, exhibitions, seminars, TV and radio interviews, and events like that in the United States. It is celebrated annually on or around October 14, marking the day in 1946 when delegates from 25 countries gathered in London to create an international organization focused on facilitating standardization. While the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) was formed one year later, the first World Standards Day was not officially celebrated until the 1970s.
Key themes from U.S. World Standards Week 2019 – “Standards build connections”
In the United States, the World Standards Week event is co-chaired by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Official descriptions highlight the event’s focus on educating and upskilling professionals to support the incorporation of standards:
“From facilitating high-speed communication to infrastructure upgrades for access, resilience, and interoperability, to leveraging artificial intelligence to improve understanding, technology is transforming our world. Voluntary standards and conformity assessment activities enable innovators to build on established technologies – and devise modern solutions that allow people, organizations, and systems across the world to connect in ever-evolving ways.”
The second day centered around addressing the skills gap at market scale and market speed – essentially, how can we upskill and reskill the current workforce. Constant transformation in our industries has overturned traditional methods to job skills training, work credentialing and hiring practices. This is even affecting higher education and unfortunately, there is little agreement on methods to keep up with the changes in the marketplace.
The goal is a global process involving employers, employees, labor organizations, education/training providers, and certification/accreditation entities. Nothing changes if nothing changes, so we must unsettle traditional models of learning and skills-based hiring, badging and online education. Techstreet will continue to play our role in supporting our tenacious standards leaders and the efforts of ANSI and the NIST.
The week concluded with the World Standards Day Dinner and Award Ceremony at the renowned Fairmont Hotel in Washington, DC.
Techstreet continues to be a prominent sponsor of this annual event, as part of our commitment to advancing the standards industry. I was proud to be part of the team representing our organization.
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