Welcome aboard. This is a very positive initiative from IPWEA. I would like to congratulate them on this innovative approach.
I would like to answer your question;
"Three trends that will change the world for public works professionals"
I must start by saying that the three trends you have lumped into one discussion are "huge" and very important topics.
You need to take care in discussing any of these that you define what you mean to avoid confusion for the reader and confused input into the debate.
Take "sustainability" - This is not a trend but the outcome of good practice.
The problem we have with "sustainability" (before we even start discussing it) is having everyone on the same page with a good definition. Then on top of this there are different sustainability issues for local government.
The two key definitions (which cause a lot of confusion) are;
1 Environmental sustainability - this is a global issue that local governments around the world can make a significant contribution (if only they knew what to do!). This is an outcome that needs the cooperation (and good practice) of the communities of the world. We are a long way from solving this one (or even getting concensus on what needs to be done)!
This is not to be confused with;
2 Services (Council) sustainability which is an outcome of good asset management practice.
Councils (in the last 5 years) have become more aware of this issue (following a report from Percy Allan 2006) and are current driving towards positive outcomes through a new emphasis on Asset Management Planning and having meaningful, useful, "living" asset management plans and practices.
I suggest caution on all your proposed trends. Each topic is significant in its own right.
Wayne has given some insight into technology trends, particularly around # 1 Environmental Sustainablity but the trends in technology are forever present and engineers in the public service need to be aware of all appropriate technology and need to introduce it and use it to their (the community's) advantage. This requires innovative thinking and innovative practices.
The formal use of innovation in the public service
might be a better topic for consideration.
Finally skills shortage is of our own making and can be solved by us.
This is another huge topic (refer current IPWEA discussion group) which can be solved by the use of technology and innovative thinking and practices.
Keep thinking innovation
MONA VALE NSW
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