SID Revises Governance Structure
The Society for Information Display has revised its governance structure, the first such major update since the Society was founded 50-plus years ago. Among the major changes are a reduction in the size of the Board of Directors and the replacement of Chapter Directors with Regional Vice Presidents in terms of Board participation. Information Display asked SID President-Elect Helge Seetzen, one of the architects of the new structure, to describe the changes and how they will affect SID operations and members.
by Helge Seetzen
The governance structure of the Society for Information Display has been largely unchanged for almost half a century. It is nearly as old as the Society itself, founded in 1962. That structure helped SID thrive and successfully manage its business for a very long time.
Since the 1960s, however, the world has evolved dramatically, and in order to keep pace with that evolution, SID’s Executive Committee recently set about creating a modern governance structure for the Society. The goal was to retain the best elements of the existing structure while improving on it. A supporting goal was to create the least amount of disruption to members, chapters, and the organization as a whole.
The original structure, in brief, consisted of a Board of Directors (BoD) made up of five officers: the Treasurer, Secretary, President-Elect, President, and
Past-President; three Regional Vice Presidents; and one elected representative from each chapter (Chapter Directors). These Chapter Directors were elected by their respective chapters to serve a 3-year period. Currently, there are 28 chapters around the world, not including student chapters. An Executive Committee (EC) made up of the officers and the regional VPs was charged with conducting the business of SID, under the direction of the Board.
Traditionally, SID business meetings have been held three times a year (in January, at Display Week in May or June, and in the fall at an international conference) with the EC meeting on the first day and the Board of Directors the day afterward. At the BoD meeting on that second day, SID business proposed by the EC was voted
on, with at least one-half of the board present constituting a quorum for conducting business.
Highlights of the recent changes (which went into effect starting January of 2017) and the reasons behind them are as follows:
• Reducing the Size of the Board: In the past, a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Society had a nominal invitation list of 36 full voting members, including Chapter Directors and assorted Committee Chairs. With such a large group, minimum attendance levels to achieve a quorum were sometimes not achieved; almost every meeting turned into an administrative struggle to secure enough proxy holders and conference-call attendees to make quorum. The new structure, with fewer mandatory attendees, should ensure that key governance can take place as needed with well-informed representatives.
• New Board Composition:
• Two Tenure-Based Officers (President, Past-President)
• Three Elected Officers (President-Elect, Treasurer, Secretary)
• Seven Elected Regional Vice-Presidents representing the Bay Area, Pacific North West, South America, East Americas, Europe, Japan, Greater China, and the Rest of Asia
The main benefit of the new system is that the representation of the regions will greatly increase at the governance level. Previously, there were three RVPs participating in an eight-person Executive Committee. Now there are seven RVPs out of a 12-person board. So, the regions go from being “add-ons” to being the majority of the core leadership of the Society. In addition, global membership representation by Chapter Directors at the board meetings did not used to be evenly distributed – for example, there were 10 Directors for America vs. one for Japan because all of Japan is included in one SID chapter. The hope is that this change will not only provide more visibility to the various regions, but also drive regional development of SID, especially in “newer” areas such as China and India.
Better Representation through Regional VPs
The role of the RVPs is the same as before. There will just be more of them and they will be more homogenously distributed. Each RVP will represent between 400 and 700 members, so every member has an equal voice (as opposed to the past system of Chapter Directors in which the director of a chapter with 10 members had the same vote as the director of a chapter with 700 members). Apart from the obvious inequality in representation, this created many problems in areas such as workload distribution, chapter funding, administrative oversight, and so forth. The new structure’s proportional representation for Society members will include systems to adjust representation over time to future-proof the governance structure.
In addition, SID is planning to provide additional budget and local authority to the RVPs, which should allow them to better support the chapters in their regions. Finally, the RVPs will act as a communication interface between the Board and the chapters/ members in the regions.
Since chapters have been a primary element of the Society since its inception, it may be helpful to take a closer look at how the governance changes will affect them. Except for the elimination of the official title of Chapter Director, nothing really changes. There are, however, two optional transitions. First, for chapters with active volunteers in the leadership team, SID recommends the introduction of a Chapter President who will perform the duties of the previous Chapter Director (with the exception of belonging to the BoD and attending its meetings). The President title is optional but may be useful in maintaining volunteer
engagement and organization.
Second, SID is now offering virtual banking as an option. In the past, chapters were required to have their own financial structure – as incorporated entities – in order to receive rebates. This required financial management and reporting to HQ that could be difficult and time consuming. Moreover, setting up legal entities like this can be challenging in some regions. SID has therefore introduced a virtual banking option in which the RVP can offer
to centrally administer a chapter’s financials in a virtual account – assisted by HQ – from which chapter expenses can be paid. This removes the need for financial reporting while maintaining the chapter’s ability to pay local expenses. Any chapter can also keep its current banking system. SID expects that virtual banking will make it easier to establish new chapters, especially in emerging regions where setting up legal entities is difficult.
Existing chapters should continue to provide member services and work with their new RVPs to see if they can encourage expansion of such services. Geographically diverse chapters could consider forming “spin-off” chapters in remote regions. For example, the Canadian chapter is largely concentrated in the Ontario area, where the bulk of the members reside, but it might be possible to create a Vancouver chapter to serve the emerging display community there (some 2000 km away from Ontario). This model has emerged organically in the US, where there are over a dozen local chapters, and the new governance model will allow the Society to do the same in other regions. The first step toward something like this will be to find local champions who can act as the leadership seed for such new chapters.
In terms of logistics, the Regional VPs will report to their chapters after each board meeting. For face-to-face interaction, SID is instituting an annual Chapter Day during Display Week that will be attended by all chapter officers and board members.
The election process is under way, and the new RVPs were nominated in late December and January. Voting commences February 15th and ends April 15th. The new Board will be fully in place for the May 2017 meeting at Display Week.
Touch Taiwan 2016 Demonstrates the Strength of the Country’s Display Industry
The fifth International Smart Display and Touch Panel Exhibition, Touch Taiwan 2016, held August 24–26, attracted almost 25,000 visitors from 12 different countries. The trade show, which is the world’s premier touch-panel and optical-film exhibition, also featured LCD and OLED panels, flexible and wearable displays, digital signage, printed electronics, and more. Touch Taiwan is organized by the Taiwan Display Union Association in collaboration with several other display and electronics associations. The 2016 event, held at the Taipei World Trade Center’s Nangang Exhibition Hall, featured 304 exhibitors from sectors including materials, components and parts, equipment and technology research, and display modules and panels.
Tsai Ing-wen, President of Taiwan (officially the Republic of China or ROC), attended the show’s opening ceremony, noting that the display industry has played an important role in the country’s economy and that even though faced by strong competition, Taiwan’s display production output is ranked number two in the world. She said she believes Taiwan’s display manufacturers are well-positioned to increase the country’s industry market share.
Paul Peng, Chairman of the Taiwan Display Union Association, reiterated the importance of the display industry in the opening ceremony, noting that there are approximately 100,000 people in Taiwan employed in monitor manufacturing and relevant industries. The overall output of the panel sector in the country reaches over NT $950 billion (US $30.05 billion) each year, accounting for 7.4% of Taiwan’s entire manufacturing output, he added. He supported Tsai lng-wen’s viewpoint by saying that Taiwan’s display industry will prosper in the area of connected devices, including commercial displays, telematics, gaming, wearable, smart homes, smart medicine, and many other new applications.
Show organizers consider Touch Taiwan 2016 to be a resounding success and note that because Taiwan has successfully developed technology for flexible AMOLED
displays, they expect that technology will be transferred to domestic companies and hence become a more vital part of the show in years to come.
For Touch Taiwan 2017 early bird registration, please contact TDUA Secretariat Joanna Kuan at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit http://www.touchtaiwan.com/en/index.asp. •