President's Corner: Disruption and the Future of ESA and Entomology

Bob Peterson, Ph.D.

Bob Peterson, Ph.D.

September 11, 2019

Disruption of industries, disruption of technologies, disruption of markets, disruption of politics. The term disruption is everywhere in today’s lexicon. In fact, the word is so overused that people are arguably becoming numb to it and its continued significance.

But we become numb to disruption at our own peril. As I mentioned in the February President’s Corner, “Why Innovate?”, “We are experiencing astonishing advances in technology, dramatic changes in demography, and disruption of hierarchical structures in nearly every sphere of human activity.” Massive disruption of education, research, publishing, communications, and other things that help define our profession are happening now. Disruption is constant; there will be no let up.

ESA and entomology must embrace disruption––and encourage it––if we are to thrive in the 21st century. We must be the disrupters, not the disrupted. We must rethink and reshape entomology. But how?

I believe a strong culture of innovation among entomologists and within ESA’s societal fabric is the key. A strong culture of innovation depends on people actively engaged in disruptive innovation. In addition to our theme Advocate Entomology!, innovation has been an ever-present initiative this year through the Antlion Pit, Innovation Day, idea leadership, and other venues.

As members of ESA, you should feel empowered to lead, disrupt, and innovate. Your ESA can help you and entomology by providing you with a synergizing platform to achieve your goals. Together, ESA, its members, and all entomologists can remain and become more relevant and vital to the public.

Advocate Entomology!

Robert K. D. Peterson, Ph.D.
President, Entomological Society of America
Professor of Entomology, Montana State University

Read past editions of President's Corner.