Thought leadership, cyber security and ‘one team’ working

12 July 2013
IET Communications team
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Launch of the IET's technical briefing on Resilience and Cyber Security of Technology in the Built Environment

The recent launch of the IET's technical briefing on Resilience and Cyber Security of Technology in the Built Environment.

An update on the IET’s thought leadership programme.

The IET’s thought leadership programme utilises the Institution’s expertise to resolve some of society’s ‘big issues’ – raising awareness, bringing stakeholders together and developing real solutions.

As a neutral, unbiased, evidence-based facilitator, the IET is well placed to act as a ‘sensible pair of hands’, with the authority and the reach to bring stakeholders to the table.


Focus on cyber

Cyber security is a recent example of how the IET’s thought leadership model works – and a showcase for ‘one team’ working between IET volunteers and staff.

It was officially launched as an IET thought leadership theme at IET London: Savoy Place in June 2012. The event saw representatives from government, industry and academia come together to define and prioritise the big cyber security issues that needed resolution – and to tell the IET how it could best facilitate that resolution.

The message was clear – there was a lack of awareness of risk and appropriate standards in securing intelligent buildings, plus a major lack of skills across the industry.


Taking action

The IET’s thought leadership programme manager, Sandra Godman, said: “That day the process started: identify and scope the issue; bring the stakeholders together to refine the issue; prioritise and specify what action the IET needs to take to move things forward. We also made every delegate sign up to taking action, telling us exactly what they thought they could do to help.

“Then we set about developing some projects – drawing from the stakeholder group volunteers to form steering groups and working parties to address the identified actions. We used our stakeholders to widen the network of engaged contacts. At every step of the way our Policy and Sector teams were part of the process.”


Ongoing process

Two cyber security projects, focusing on intelligent buildings and skills, were identified by the initial group discussion, and both are now in ‘full stream’. They each have a road map of future actions to progress to resolution of the initial issue.

“In this case, the end points in sight are recognised guidance on managing intelligent buildings, and a stream of highly skilled and up-to-date cyber specialists protecting industry and national infrastructure,” said Sandra.

“Of course the great thing about thought leadership is that by the time we get there, the whole picture will have changed and there will be a whole lot more to do!”


Recent highlights

The intelligent buildings project has recently reached a milestone with the launch of a technical briefing on Resilience and Cyber Security of Technology in the Built Environment, which took place in London on 27 June. This document aims to inform key players on what is needed to secure intelligent buildings. Work on the second phase – the start of getting actual standards in place – has now begun.  

On cyber security skills, the IET is in the process of setting up a national MSc sponsorship programme, the Cyber Security Skills Alliance. As part of this work, the first ever inter-institutional alliance in this area has been formed. It’s a move that has been described as ‘ground-breaking’ by senior stakeholders, including the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, who are part-funding the work.


One team working

Cyber security is different to previous thought leadership themes, in that the IET volunteer who is driving the project, Hugh Boyes, has migrated from volunteering to now actually being contracted to the IET for a key piece of work – so, in effect, Hugh is a member of staff.

“This exposure to the way IET works, especially our projects process and visibility of how Policy, Sectors and other areas pull together, has been very useful in being able to develop strong working relationships with key staff and members with influence in these areas,” said Sandra.

“Hugh and I share the work on the project, with him using his expertise, network and influence with stakeholders, and me watching his back, keeping him in line(!) and following up with all the necessary administration and logistics, and between us we have a great project running smoothly.”

According to Sandra, the cyber security projects are also attracting involvement from some high-level industry specialists. “Whilst not all are IET members, they are all extremely passionate about the topic and very committed to helping us.

“It might not be the traditional view of volunteering, but every bit of help they provide is essential to growing IET and making a real difference to the issues we are striving to address. In my view they are all part of one big and highly effective team.”


Getting involved

If you would like to contribute to the IET’s cyber security thought leadership theme, you can join one of the cyber security communities on LinkedIn or MyCommunity, or contact cybersecurity@theiet.org.

For general enquiries on thought leadership, please email globalagenda@theiet.org.