Thursday, October 13, 2011

Standards do make the world go round –WSD 14 Oct

This year’s World Standards Day on 14 October 2011 is themed ‘International Standards – creating confidence globally’.  The international community recognized WSD2011 with a poster contest which was won by Caterina Fiorani  apparently a young architect working in Rome who has been quoted as saying that the graphic displays two open hands which are composed from the world’s continents, and represents honesty, helpfulness, and  cooperation for a common purpose (See below).

I congratulate the artist for her excellent design that well warrants the award and recognition. 
Although Canada is a very active member in the international arena of standards development, and I am a very active member of the Canadian standards community, I find that there is near nothing of recognition of WSD in my country.  I know it is so, but I don’t know why. 
Now I know and understand that WSD is not quite on the same level as Canada Day or Christmas.  But it must rank somewhere above Ground Hog Day.  I don’t really expect it to be a national holiday, but it is an opportunity for standards development bodies to create some buzz and awareness about what we do, and why it is actually pretty important to Canadian society. 
Imagine a world without electrical standards, construction standards, nuclear standards, and no medical standards.  Imagine a world without a Canadian Standards Association.  Shoddy and dangerous construction with ladders and bracings built out of sticks and twine.  Totally unstable electricity and dangerous wiring. Two or more people to a hospital bed.  Hygiene by and large non-existent.  And nuclear melt downs from incompetent workmanship (No, this does not describe Fukushema). 
Without standards we would all be huddled in a corner like some Eastern ba***rd freezing in the dark (ask any Canadian over the age of 50 for the reference to this phrase!)  
Standards Council of Canada is recognizing WSD2011 in a very small way, with a breakfast meeting in Ottawa.  That may be good for folks in Ottawa, and maybe as far away as Montreal, but it does not work well for us folks in British Columbia.  For the briefest of moments I thought about attending, but 3000 Km (and back) is a pretty long hike for a networking coffee and muffin. 
Maybe for next year I will be able to convince them that networking in Canada is better achieved through having linked events held in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver perhaps with a video-linked presentation.  Such is the reality of living in a country that spans about 5000 Km west to east. 
I would like to say that at least we are doing something out here to recognize Friday as a special event day, but alas, I have been pretty silent here too. In part my absence of activity was a matter of problematic timing.  My colleague who is a graphic artist was on world travel during the month prior to the competition, so we did not get a poster done in time.  Again, it would have been very appropriate for us to have our Quality Weekend Workshop not in June, but in October.  We could have done that, but there are already a wack of conferences being held around this time and getting folks to travel would have been a challenge.  We also could have held our CMPT Annual General Meeting a few weeks later, but timing was not going to work out for that either.  
Bottom line was it did not work out.  As they say “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda; but I didn’t”.  But if we want to be a part of the process then we have to stake our claim. 
No more excuses for WSD2012.  Written in stone.

In the meantime, lots happening next week including our annual meeting of ISO Technical Committee 212.  Will give a summary of the meeting.

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