President's Corner: Innovation Day

Bob Peterson, Ph.D.

Bob Peterson, Ph.D.

July 17, 2019

Each summer, the ESA Annual Meeting Program Committee meets to plan your Annual Meeting, and the Governing Board meets to conduct the business of governing your Society. It doesn’t happen every year, but some years we also have a Strategy Day in which members of your leadership community discuss bigger issues affecting ESA.

This year, we did something different: Innovation Day. Program Committee, Governing Board, Branch, and Early Career Professional leadership as well as a small group of members who are visionary thinkers descended like a plague of locusts on a great location in St. Louis called Filament. The idea behind Innovation Day was to begin the process of creating an innovation culture at ESA. To that end, we were facilitated by Filament’s excellent professionals through a structured environment in which participants were encouraged to come up with and freely share ideas that have the potential to reshape ESA and entomology. The focus for the day was on positivity, possibility, visionary thinking, and inspirational ideas.

A big part of the meeting was imagining our entomological future by considering five attributes of entomologists: the augmented entomologist, the educated entomologist, the influential entomologist, the collaborative entomologist, and the accidental entomologist.

We discussed technologies and societal changes that can empower us to be better educators, researchers, influencers and collaborators—changes that may very well radically alter how, when, where, and why we do our work. We discussed careers outside of academia and the needs of the 21st century entomologist, regardless of career path.

Through powerful group exercises and a fun and informative visual note-taking process, we generated many ideas that may be pursued either formally by ESA or by members and others who want to lead now. Indeed, this is exactly what I meant by idea leadership in last month’s President’s Corner!

You’ll be seeing more about Innovation Day soon, so stay tuned.

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.