There are healthy efforts underway to offer better Office Automation for RAC. Director Bill Gipps of BC has been doing a heroic job investigating this and I'm proud to be actively supporting him, as is a very smart fellow from Ontario, new Ham Brian O'Donnell, VA4BCO. (I prefer to call this "Open Office" as the automation should be an enabler, not an objective. The result should be an office more accessible to all across Canada)
I've been asked about which has the higher priority - Education or (Open) Office Automation?
At risk of giving a politician's answer, both. I support Open Office as very important but it won't solve all of our very real problems. Growing the hobby, including recruiting diverse voices and talents, will have a bigger impact. nevertheless we do need both.
Relative to population growth, the hobby is shrinking, this is true south of the border as well. This is not because of lack of interest. You saw at Dayton the potential of the Maker /Hacker community. Toronto is a centre of gravity for these folks as is Vancouver and Calgary.
We also need to look at Native communities, rural ARES opportunities and elementary /secondary robotics programs. (Note that none of these demographics are dominated by "old white men")
We need to make more Hams by making adult education more accessible to these communities. Youth education is secondary given our relevancy issue. If you want to appeal to youth, you need to be (and appear to be) relevant.
Now from an association perspective, RAC still has a relevancy / value proposition problem. The hard truth is in our poor market share (number of RAC members vs hams in Canada, benchmarked against the same numbers in the UK and USA) and I believe this is also largely to do with relevancy or - put differently - "what's in it for me?"
So it's critical we increase our total numbers, diversify that population and increase our marketshare. A good education program will help the first two issues. An Open Office could help fix the marketshare. How? It's about revitalization.
Revitalization will only occurred when the organization commits to becoming more transparent & inclusive.
- Volunteers with equal access from across the country.
- Open financials.
- Consultations on important issues.
- Open discussion forums to identify what active Hams think are important.
- more time and attention on our critics not just our fan club
Most importantly we have to have value for dollars that speaks to all Amateurs in Canada.
Office automation is important because it could be used to open the organization and increase the feeling that RAC is both willing and capable of representing ALL Canadian Amateurs.
Is this going to happen on its own or are we going to require a revolution in the streets? I think the answer, like many answers, lies somewhere in the middle. Its about good men (and women) standing up and making a difference. Yes, I mean YOU. only YOU can help shape the National Organization YOU would like to see. Stand up and make a difference.
I'm an unapologetic optimist. It's not a scarcity issue, it's a growth issue. It's not about management, it's about leadership.
(Thanks to Bill Unger VE3XT and Geoff ve4baw for a conversation that has really got me thinking about these issues )