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ANSI Holds Standards Development Process Simulation at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College

New York, Dec 13, 2013

A workshop simulating the experience of taking part in the process of creating voluntary consensus standards was held by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, in New York City. The simulation was held at the William E. Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York (CUNY) and facilitated by Jorrit De Jong, a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

“The ANSI Standards simulation exercise lets students engage in a real world application that resembles a standards meeting,” said simulation participant Kevin O’Connor, managing director of ANSI member Purdue University’s International Center for Biometric Research (ICBR). “It was great to see people with little to no standards experience learning to understand and comprehend all of the key components in the development of a standard.”

The event made use of a standards simulation exercise, titled “Setting Standards: Exercise in Strategy and Cooperation in Standardization Processes,” provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). A similar simulation was held in October 2012, as part of ANSI’s annual World Standards Week (WSW) series of events [see related story].

Participants were divided into teams and given an agenda and lists of interests that simulated the perspectives of different stakeholders in the voluntary standardization process for a hypothetical new technology that allows its users to operate motor vehicles and household appliances with their thoughts. As part of the simulation, the participants carried out negotiations between separate and sometimes competing interests, with the goal of reaching an effective consensus, mirroring the methods and aims of the real-life standards development process.

“Our students came away from the simulation with a much better understanding that technical savvy is not enough; they now understand that they need to develop the ability to think strategically, to appreciate diverse perspectives, and to articulate their thoughts in an effective way,” said simulation observer Andrew Russell, a professor at New Jersey’s Stevens Institute of Technology. “The simulation certainly whet their appetites: they all left the exercise eager to know more about standards, and curious about who made the standards that they rely on in their daily lives.”

For more information about the workshop, contact the ANSI Committee on Education (CoE) via Lisa Rajchel (, the Secretariat to ANSI CoE. To learn more about ANSI’s ongoing schedule of workshops and training sessions, please visit the ANSI training schedule.

A gallery of photos from the event is available online.

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