In our July issue we announced that Dr David Kreps had been elected as chair of the IFIP Technical Assembly, which oversees the work of the various Technical Committees (TCs) and Working Groups (WGs) within IFIP. We spoke to David about his plans and aspirations for the role.

As the new chair of the Technical Assembly, David hopes to use IFIP’s uniquely independent position to contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Only the second formally elected TA chair, (they were previously appointed by the IFIP President until a rule change in 2020), David took over from Phillippe Palanque, who was chair from 2020-2023. 

“There are lots of professional academic societies in the Information Systems community, but they tend to be hitched to the business world, so IFIP has a unique selling point. Rather than being cheek by jowl with business, we’re aligned with the UN and therefore more objective and more interested in the betterment of society and humanity,” he said.

“I want to use my three-year tenure as chair to help the organisation further its alignment with the goals of the UN.”

He referred to the development of a new 3-year IFIP strategy, a journey that began at the IFIP General Assembly in Lille in September 2022 with input from a range of stakeholders, including the Technical Assembly (TA) and Technical Committee Chairs, the Member Societies Assembly (MSA), Member Society representatives and Presidents, and the IFIP Board, to identify opportunities for IFIP to make a difference. Among its other objectives, the new strategy will seek to showcase those projects and initiatives across the TCs and WGs that align with the SDGs, enabling IFIP to directly support the achievement of these goals over time.   

“I’m planning to conduct an audit of the various projects happening across IFIP so we have a better understanding of what people are working on. I also hope to facilitate more engagement between the TCs and the WGs and introduce better induction processes for people who are new to IFIP, so they clearly understand who we are and what we’re about,” he said. 

“There are a lot of people in the business world doing good things, who would like to partner with an organisation like IFIP that is independent and objective and driven to make a difference, but they have no idea what we’re doing. We need to change that.” 

David was quick to express his appreciation for the excellent work undertaken by his predecessor, Philippe Palanque. “He’s been a very effective chair who devoted enormous time and energy to running the Assembly and I want to keep that going. Once I step down as head of TC9 at the end of this year, I’ll be able to maintain a strategic focus across the entire TA. 

“This will give me a unique opportunity to listen objectively to the concerns of each TC chair without having my own TC in mind and to be able to work closely with the rest of the Executive Committee with my TA hat on, rather than representing an individual TC,” he said.