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Day Two: SCC Hosts Second ISO Networking Conference

(Part two of two)

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, May 16, 2003

Information, marketing, public relations and training managers from 34 countries gathered today in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada for day two of the second ISO Networking Conference. Focussing on the topic of networking in a new information and communication environment, a summary of the first day’s discussions drew attention to multiple opportunities for partnering (whether between SDOs and vendors or among SDOs) and the various paths to transition toward the future by using the Internet as a way of creating new products and services.

A key question regarding requests for comprehensive resources (“single go-to” points) for standards and standards-related information was truly is it intended as a single point, or could there be several “one-stop shops” that each provide similar functions?

Mrs. Merle Claude of the Association francaise de normalisation spoke on behalf of her colleague, Mr. Christope Lelart, on the subject of protecting the registered international trademark of ISO. This protection is vital for the proper identification of ISO services, to avoid parasitism and confusion associated with misuse, and to protect the “brand quality” of ISO and avoid loss of value. She provided several examples of current and past actions in France and identified registration, administrative procedures, and legal procedures – including arbitration – as possible methods of recourse. She also noted that, in general, NSBs serve as the national authority for ISO in each country and, therefore, act in conjunction with ISO staff when legal issues such as copyright infringement arise.

Mr. John Pace of ASTM International also addressed the challenges of protecting intellectual property in an electronic world. He estimated that for every $1 dollar in revenue received by standards developers, there is an equal $1 lost due to illegal reproduction of standards. The problem, he argued, is due to the conflicts of demand versus speed, inflexible models, new tools, lack of education, and the different nature and makeup of standards developing organizations.

“The standards business is changing,” he said. “It’s time to raise the bar!” He called for SDOs to get involved and work together to increase the visibility and awareness of the issue and to investigate new ways of protecting intellectual property, such as new licensing language, watermarking, digital rights management, and other mechanisms.

As one possible solution for enhanced protection of intellectual property, Mr. Peregrine Rowse of ILI demonstrated a technology solution his company was utilizing for file protection. The Adobe Acrobat plug-in was developed by U.S.-based File Open Systems and provides access, distribution and print access management for protected documents.

When the meeting reconvened following its morning break, Professor Takaya Kawabe of Art Tech in Japan provided an overview of the “ISO 14000 Kids programme” now underway to raise awareness of environmental management issues. The program uses a special workbook that children work with – both on their own and with their families – for specific periods of time. Special instructors then evaluate the workbooks and certificates are issued to the children. The program is expected to reach more than 40,000 students during 2003 and the workbook is being translated (and relevant statistics added) for use in multiple countries.

“Children create the 21st century,” said Prof. Kawabe. He hypothesized that children who become familiar with environmental protection with carry their environmental conscientiousness into the future; similarly, those who become familiar with ISO at an early age will more readily turn to ISO for global solutions in the future.

Dr. Bill Kelly, chairman of the American National Standards Institute’s committee on education, explained that the U.S. National Standards Strategy provided much of the guidance for ANSI’s education outreach activities, Dr. Kelly explained that there appears to be an increasing appreciation for life-long training for professional development. The acceptance of e-learning as an educational model is expanding and will become an integral part of all aspects of education in the future, he explained.

Drawing a comparison to the one-stop resource for standards that was referenced the preceding day, Dr. Kelly noted the need for a one-stop resource educational portal that would maximize convenience via electronic delivery while minimizing cost and time. He continued with an introduction of the ANSI standards education web portal, www.StandardsLearn.org, and the processes that were used to develop the website.

The group then turned its attention to the subject of communications and public relations up to the level of government and parliament. Ms. Vered Oren of the Standards Institution of Israel described the comprehensive outreach program SII has established with its government officials. A number of tactics were discussed, including media relations, print and web-based promotional materials and magazines, mail campaigns, meetings and visits, lobbying, and more. She also highlighted a children’s campaign on environmental awareness that includes a drawing contest endorsed by the Minister of Education.

“We have to join hand-in-hand with the government in order to promote standards and quality in Israel,” Ms. Oren said. Noting that it was at the request of members of Israel’s parliament that the SII director proposed to ISO the development of international standards on the subject of corporate social responsibility.

Pierre Collerette of the University of Quebec, an expert in change management, presented the results of his study on the use of electonic media in communications. He identified that the most effective message is not always based on the media, but on clear and truthful messages and the coherence between the message and behavior.

Mr. Laszlo Szaba gave the final presentation of the day, addressing the relationship between journalists and standardization bodies and ways to “spin our story to get better coverage.” He stressed the importance of providing members of the media with a good sound byte, quote or video clip that will help to communicate the message. He also suggested that the media prefer to talk with specialists in the field, not the corporate spokesperson. Thus, key executives must be prepared (and trained appropriately) to serve as corporate spokespeople.

The last activities of the day were roundtable-brainstorming sessions on ways that the ISO community could better serve the standards user and how the ISO Central Secretariat could better serve the standards community. A number of valuable suggestions were made and will be considered for action by the ISO management team.

In their closing remarks, SCC’s chairman and the ISO Secretary-General each thanked the attendees for their contributions and participation, concluding that the two-day event had been very productive. Mr. Bryden encouraged attendance at the next conference, which will be hosted by Standards Australia International in Sydney during November 2004.

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