Institution news

From Birdcage Walk

Colin Brown, Chief Executive

One Birdcage Walk
One Birdcage Walk

The latest in our ongoing series of updates about activities at the Institution.

Dear Member,

It was the 173rd anniversary this week of the invitation letter that went out from Beyer, Slate, Humphreys and McConnell inviting people to the inaugural meeting of our Institution.  The letter called for people to ‘meet and correspond …. to increase their knowledge’. It was fitting to remember that purpose as we held our Council meeting with 60 attendees at Birdcage Walk on Wednesday.

The Council is still chaired by our President, but in a nod to what might be coming in the future, Joe McGeough shared the role with the Chair of the Council Coordinating Committee on the day. The whole aim of the Governance Review recommendations, with respect to Council, is to encourage changes such as this to improve effectiveness.  Our desire is to move on from what had seemed to become in recent years a report to 60 shareholders, to make it instead, a discussion for guidance from 60 active members.

What it showed however is that we have more talking to do. The proposed contraction of Council to just 28 elected members, for example, was debated at length.  A particularly interesting concept raised. was to ensure that there would be a minimal number of ‘degrees of separation’ existing between whoever finally sits on the new Council and each and every member of our Institution. Other new ideas came forward too. All this output now goes back to our Implementation Group which meets for the third time this coming Thursday.  Their aim will be to ensure that whatever further consultation happens and then what final decisions emerge, will be shaped as much on the commitment to their implementation as to any other factor.

One further event has however already demonstrated full commitment to its implementation. Three hundred of our most enthusiastic and engaged members attended the Scottish Region Annual Dinner in Glasgow last Friday evening. The traditional skirl of the pipes and flash of tartan was the backdrop to a ‘call to arms’ by Prof. Juergen Maier to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Scotland already has a very active digital community and it was great to see our Institution realising our desire to ‘give an impulse to inventions likely to be useful to the world’. Beyer, Slate, Humphreys and McConnell would have been proud.

In closing, it’s useful to recognise that we have been writing these updates for over a year now with the idea to give you greater visibility of the changes coming in our Institution.  We’ve also been able to talk about some of the great work we do in the UK and beyond. However as the number of page views each week is declining we think it’s time to move to a monthly format to complement our other member communications such as our 'Institution News' and 'World Bulletin' newsletters. In the meantime of course if you disagree or if you have any other comments or queries about the Institution please do get in touch through the response section below or by email at


Colin Brown

Chief Executive


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