Building a Team
While a summit could be executed as a turn-key project with outside resources, we believe the process will be most valuable to the host utility if there is an opportunity to have creative and thoughtful exchanges with people throughout the organization. Developing a culture of listening will have far-reaching effects for both customer engagement and satisfaction.
These inviduals are the driving force behind the initiative. While they may not be the final decision-makers, they are willing to go to bat for the project and obtain the necessary resources and support from the executive suite. They work with the communications team to speak to the press, exchange ideas with their peers within the company and throughout the industry, and generally champion the program at hearings, meetings, and conferences. The IEEE program supports these individuals with strategies, presentations, and serving as a sounding board.
This person plays a pivotal role by bringing together the right people from the community, identifying subject matter experts throughout the company, elevating issues for decision-makers as needed, and making sure the creative and organizational resources are able to be effective. The job requires an ability to move from 40,000 foot level vision to the detailed logistics issues that will inevitably come up. The IEEE program supports this person with advice and counsel, peer to peer calls, and checklists, tools, and templates so everyone doesn't have to reinvent the wheel.
Whether your organization chooses to use the team engaged by IEEE who have worked on other summits and workshops, does the work internally, hires an established vendor or uses a combination of all three, the IEEE program is supplying tools, templates, support, and self-guided training to simplify the process and keep costs down. A preview is shown on the IEEE resources page including a link to the summit microsite.
PR, marketing, community outreach, customer service, engineering, regulatory affairs, all have valuable insights to share. Having a subset participate on the steering committee, provide expertise on an ad hoc basis, and/or attend the summit events or workshop allow the experience of the process to make consumer issues more real and relevant. As everyone has too much on their plate, the IEEE program is organized to minimize the impact on their day-to-day jobs.
Many utilities have dedicated teams skilled at putting on events or local vendors who have been fully vetted. Templates for budgets, signage, collateral, checklists, etc. can simplify the process. Access to local IEEE members who can serve as knowledgable volunteers at the event or as leaders of post-summit prototype projects is one of the most important contributions from IEEE. (see Volunteer roles)
Planning ahead for post-summit activities
As momentum builds for the summit, team members will develop stong bonds with the community leaders on the steering committee. The experience of a large-scale design event that is well-executed is quite powerful and more people in the organization and from the community will want to get involved and be associated with its success. Keeping the core team and steering committee intact to continue past the event, with new players added in to the mix is the best way to keep the enthusiasm going and gain the maximum value for the investment.