Leader Segment with Arun Tanksali

– What is your “IEEE Mantra” which helped you to be a member till date in IEEE?
IEEE matches your level of interest – if you are passive in your involvement, you may feel IEEE is similarly passive. However, if you show interest, take an active part, volunteer in areas that you are passionate about, then IEEE is a very vibrant organization that will help you collaborate with other active professionals and achieve significant goals

-As an IEEE Senior member, what are the most important values and skills you believe students must demonstrate as a leader?
Many students seem to consider acquiring technical skills as an end in itself or, at best, a means to a well-paying job. There are very few students, in my interactions, that do care about how they can utilize their technical education to make a difference by creating products and services that positively impact the society. Thinking about how their skills serve a larger purpose is an essential trait for students and I do hope many more of them start considering this aspect.

-How do you go about building an innovative solution to a non-traditional problem?
The most useful approach to creating such a solution is to keep its users at the heart of the solution. Immersive understanding of the problem space, exploring the solution space without pre-conceived solutions, talking to potential users, iterative improvements – all of this facilitates creating truly innovative solutions.

-Many people associate IEEE with conferences and publications. What are the other aspects of IEEE that you have experienced?
IEEE is justly known for its top-quality conferences. It has many other aspects to it which are equally good. IEEE standards are industry defining and there are many ways one can participate in – as an observer, which I have done for many to be at the forefront of those areas. IEEE also has a rich history of humanitarian activities, of which IEEE MOVE is a very good example. I volunteer there and lead its marketing activities. It has societies, like TEMS, which cut across technologies and focus on higher level aspects like leadership, innovation and transforming ideas to products. This is an excellent society for many members to be a part of in addition to their technical societies. I am privileged to be its India Chair.

-Since you have published a few research papers, how is having a good research profile important for students and how can they start with their research profile?
Publishing papers can be very valuable for students. It helps them develop a rigorous model of thinking allowing them to present their ideas, experiments and results in a manner that will stand them in good stead. It improves their ability to communicate well through the written word and teaches them to accept and interpret review feedback.