News & Events

Lead transformation in your industry

April 21, 2023
UBC MEL MHLP - Lead Transformation in Your Industry

We are living in a time of transformation. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and other digital technologies are transforming virtually every industry, from health care to manufacturing and construction.

The pressure to meet ambitious climate goals – including Canada’s commitment to achieving net-zero by 2050 – is demanding revolutionary shifts in the way we manufacture products, heat our homes, design our cities, and propel our vehicles, planes and ships.

In periods of profound transformation and disruption, leadership is more important than ever. Organizations need people who understand the impacts of the shifts that are happening and who have the skills to lead their teams to achieve sustainable change.

Programs like UBC’s Master of Health Leadership & Policy (MHLP) and Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) provide those working in the healthcare sector or in engineering, architecture or urban planning with the knowledge and tools they need to lead transformation in their industry.

Digital shifts in the healthcare industry

Digital technologies are transforming health care. As Deloitte points out in its report “The digital disruptors changing health care in Canada,” the trend towards digital could help create a more equitable and patient-centred health care system.

As they state, “Around the world, digital health companies are accelerating transformation in health care by enabling important shifts, for example, from institutional care to digitally-enabled care in the community and from doctor-centred care to patient-centred care.”

Along with the increasing prevalence of virtual care, Deloitte predicts an increase in remote care monitoring – such as having people use wearable devices that can be monitored by healthcare providers remotely. Predictive analytics will also revolutionize care models, enabling us to anticipate risks and respond appropriately.

Dr. Cheryl Segaric, Director of the MHLP in Clinical Education and Seniors Care, noted in a program spotlight article that these profound transformations underline the need for new kinds of health care leaders. “Informatics and the move to virtual health is another area where the pandemic has pushed our sector forward,” she says.

“Before 2020, virtual health-care delivery was slowly being rolled out. COVID-19 dramatically accelerated that shift. Similarly, the move to informatics and an emphasis on data analytics will only speed up. We’re still in the early days of this, and so there is a need for expertise in the field to lead us forward.”

Keeping up with innovations in the engineering sector

In an article on technology trends, Forbes’ contributor Bernard Marr lists datafication, artificial intelligence and machine learning, new energy solutions and 3D printing as four innovations that are transforming business and society.

No matter what industry you work in, staying on top of these and other emerging trends is crucial if you want to lead change and add value.

These trends are transforming the way manufacturing engineers design processes and choose materials, how software engineers develop machine learning models, and how mechanical engineers design healthy and energy-efficient buildings.

These trends are also inherently multidisciplinary. It is no longer possible to work at the forefront of your field without having some knowledge of other disciplines. As Dr. Steven Weijs, an instructor in the MEL in Integrated Water Management wrote in a program spotlight article about how to make informed decisions in water management,

“This type of work draws as much on computer science and statistics as it does on hydrology – yet another example of how the real world is not defined by disciplinary boundaries.”

His statement is as valid for water resource managers as it is for leaders in health care, manufacturing, urban systems and building design. Outcomes are always uncertain, and decision-makers, therefore, rely on predictive models built on accurate and reliable data to evaluate potential risk and identify the best course of action.

Transforming the way we use energy

Canada’s commitments made at COP26 UN Climate Change Conference call for the country to reduce emissions by 40-45 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net-zero by 2050. The industry transformations needed to achieve these ambitious goals are far-reaching – and they are happening fast.

“Change is happening quickly,” wrote Dr. Vladan Prodanovic, Director of the MEL in Clean Energy Engineering, in a program spotlight article. “Even 10 years ago, people referred to wind and solar as alternative technologies.

Today, renewable energy is no longer alternative and has entered the mainstream, providing more jobs than the oil and gas sector. New technologies are emerging all the time as the science and applied science advances.”

This has ramifications for professionals in all industries. Marine engineers and naval architects need to come up with innovative ways to cut marine emissions in half by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. Manufacturing engineers need to consider how to improve efficiencies. Process and chemical engineers need to think carefully about ways to ensure their processes are sustainable and follow the principles of green chemistry.

Leaders needed in times of transformation

In these times of change, leadership is more important than ever. “In any period of disruption or rapid change, there is a domino effect throughout all levels of the system,” says Dr. Segaric.

“And that presents a pressing need for leadership – for professionals who can advocate and guide for policy changes, lead in education and practice, and create positive workplace cultures where people are able to adapt to and thrive in new ways of working.”

This is where the interdisciplinary curriculum offered by the MEL and MHLP provides a unique advantage to those who want to lead transformative change. In their sector-specific classes, students learn about the latest trends driving change in their industry and have opportunities to gain hands-on experience through capstone projects, practicums and industry-driven projects.

These courses are balanced by classes offered through UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School that cover topics including leadership, sustainability, innovation, data analytics and more.

The experience of our alumni is proof of the value of the MEL and MHLP degrees. Students graduate with the technical knowledge and leadership skills needed to pursue the innovations and transformations needed to ensure a more sustainable and equitable future.