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October 6, 2021

Standards for the benefit of humanity

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Standards and conformity assessment are addressing some of the world’s biggest environmental, societal, governance and economic challenges. Therefore, what role can standardization play in the next 50 years?

To mark our 50th anniversary, we explored this question. We hosted a thought provoking conversation on February 4, 2021, with industry influencers from Canada and around the world to discuss the future of standardization and how it can help build a better world.

Our event started with Kristel Van der Elst, Director General, Policy Horizons Canada setting the stage by discussing the need for foresight in shaping our desired future, a future which is increasingly permeated by new technology, and considerations for standard-setting bodies.

The panel, moderated by SCC’s CEO Chantal Guay, included Lena Dargham, Director General of the Lebanese Standards Institution, Sheila Leggett, Chair of the ISO/TC 207 Technical Committee, Eric Meslin, President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies, Merih Malmqvist Nilsson, International consultant, and Christoph Winterhalter, Chairman of the German Institute for Standardization Executive Board.

Through the presentations from the panelists and the forward-looking discussion, a few themes emerged as we work towards shaping the future we aspire to.

  • Increase inclusiveness and diversity
    We need to include new people in standardization along with standards experts. Diversity will ultimately advance and improve the standards developed for everyone.
  • Maintain the rigour and consensus
    Rigour and consensus are core principles of the standardization system, and will continue to be important as we look to the future.
  • Find ways to be nimble
    With the pace of change, we need to be nimble to stay relevant. Nimbleness could present an opportunity to add new ideas and get involved earlier in the process with new innovations and technology to increase the impact of standards.
  • Achieve greater collaboration and cooperation
    Collaboration and cooperation are already important pillars of the standards development process however, there is an opportunity to involve standards users at the beginning of development process to further consider their needs and the impact that standards will have as they are being developed. Additionally, greater cooperation is needed to ensure work is not duplicated.
To close the discussion, all the panelists shared one thing they believe can be done today so that in 50 years from now, we find ourselves in the world we aspire to. This is what they shared:

“Be bold, be brave and embrace disruption.”
– Sheila Leggett, Chair of the ISO/TC 207 Technical Committee

“We need to be agile, and we need to be able to respond more quickly.”
– Lena Dargham, Director General of the Lebanese Standards Institution

“Increase the inclusiveness of the standards making process. That will bring new blood and new ideas.”
– Merih Malmqvist Nilsson, International consultant

“Intentionally target lowering the burdens of the global north and global south divide. More than anything else, that divide is creating huge impediments for progress.”
– Eric Meslin, President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies

“We need to envision what is a digital quality infrastructure, which will function differently than today’s quality infrastructure. If you need to think out of the box, you need to think more long term which will in the end also affect decisions that you do for tomorrow.”
– Christoph Winterhalter, Chairman of the German Institute for Standardization Executive Board

 

Watch the full panel discussion.

 

 

 

 

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