20 September, 2021 / By: Tech Stewardship Team

TS+ Martin Ryan

How is TS relevant to you?

Ever since I first began my engineering undergraduate degree, I’ve sensed that something was missing. But there were tests and courses to pass, so I put my head down and focused on what was in front of me.

This continued as I began my career as a consulting engineer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. All incentives were to keep my head down and focus on the next project.

It wasn’t until 10 years into this “first-career” that I encountered Engineers Without Borders Canada – an organization that encourages exploring bigger questions.

What kind of world did I want to see? How could I help make this world possible?

As I engaged with EWB and eventually wound up quitting my high-paid cushy leadership job in consulting engineering to join their full time staff, I felt like I was beginning to scratch the itch that had always been there, but still something was missing…

In January of 2015, I had the privilege to become the inaugural managing director of the Engineering Change Lab Canada, and suddenly my full time job was to lead a collaborative process to explore the underlying questions that have always nagged at me.

Together with an amazing and diverse group of leaders, we established the early foundations of tech stewardship as a shared pathway to help answer the questions that I and so many others hold – to understand how to leverage my privileged position for the benefit of all.

What are your greatest personal challenges around practicing TS?

Having the privilege to help nurture the overall tech stewardship movement, I have a good understanding of both the broad and problems and opportunities.  Rather than focus on those here, I will answer this question more personally.

As I helped to develop this tech stewardship platform, I acutely felt the practical challenges associated with practicing TS while trying to deliver a product.  For example – of course we want to be more inclusive in who is involved with the design process, but we also have budget and schedule constraints…  

And despite getting to focus on TS as my day-job, at home like most people I struggle with my and my kids’ relationships with screens.  When I was younger and before cell phones were so ubiquitous, cancelling my cable subscription helped me to stop from slipping into spirals of screen-based “self numbing.”  Now that everything is so easily available on my phone, and I haven’t quite worked up the courage to cancel it, the struggle continues!

What do you think?

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