So I went to my first IDSA meeting since my undergrad over 10 years ago.

A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from IDSA-WI saying there’s a gathering for members in Madison, WI and we’re all invited to discuss what we would like to see out of the chapter. I was obviously excited since this is the first contact I recieved in about a year from the chapter. Upon further research, it was also the first event hosted in YEARS. Welp, I hoped in my time machine and made it over to Madison from Milwaukee. Out of over 40 industrial designers only 4 (3 in person, 1 remote) participated.

The organizer of the event was not IDSA chapter leadership but another member passionate about reviving the chapter. According to him, an attempt to revive the chapter was made last year but one of two guys bailed and it just became too much for one invididual. For the most part, the chapter leadership is dormant. I don’t even know where to start when it comes to transfering roles and responsibilities for something like this.

So, this is the reason I’m asking for input here. WI faces unique challenges in the sense that our membership is spread across the state. We estimated an average 2 hour drive time to to capture most members. We believe we have three types of members that we should be considerate of. We were able to define some of their needs listed below. However, I’d like to reach out to a larger audience to help identify opportunities that you would most want out of your local IDSA Chapter. So please, take a few moments and comment if you feel you fit in one of these 3 spaces. Since we only had a few of our local membership, we feel we need to get more feedback to define who our “customers” are. Any other ideas, issues, opportunities. Please post that up as well.


Working Professional - Available
-Workshops (local chapter speakers providing relevant knowledge of their experiences. Frequency: 1 per quarter?)
-Networking (create social media platform and physical opportunities)
-Social Events (localized statewide events. Frequency: 1 per month(less 30 minute drive)
-Knowledge Transfer

Working Professional - Commitment Constrained
-Social Events

Student Members
-Scholarship (build student pipeline to maintain professional membership base)
-Mentorship (build student pipeline to maintain professional membership base)

Please share your experiences on your availablity to help us determine how frequent we should host these events. If you had to drive for a local event, how far would you go? What would make an event worth an hour drive for you?

I work in the greater Chicagoland area so you may not want my opinion, but …

if you give me a justification that I can give to my manager to attend the meeting during business hours, I would attend. You don’t have to sell me, you need to tell me how to sell to my manger. It is just that simple.

I would think the low hanging fruit is either continuing education or an opportunity for my company to make a sale. Networking and socializing are things I cannot take to my manager.

Thanks! We’re taking opinions from all over since we need to get started and our current membership is a little disconnected at the moment. That’s a great point about the justification. We believe we can create an informative session talking about relevant topics that would improve work productivity or or knowledge. That could fall under professional development. We understand we need to make the event strong enough to make it worth the drive/commitment for most folks.