Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Dual Disruption Brought About by BIM

CultureWe should all know by now that BIM is considered a disruptive technology.

Chuck Eastman, Paul Teicholz and their cohort said as much back in 2008.

But “disruptive” to whom, exactly?

The person or persons who work in BIM, of course.

But what about those who don’t work in BIM?

Who – whether by their choice or another’s – work alongside those who work in the technology, but don’t work in the technology themselves.

Their work lives have been disrupted in innumerable ways.

For BIM not only disrupts those who work in the technology, but also those who aren’t using BIM.

Why aren’t they working in BIM? They may not be asked to work

  • on BIM teams because they are perceived as being too senior, often equated with being too expensive.
  • with the authoring tools because their skillsets are needed elsewhere, outside of the BIM workflow.
  • in BIM because there’s a perception that older works are slower learners, and there isn’t time to train someone who needs to be performing ASAP.

BIM Outliers

Other times, where the opportunity is left to the employee, BIM outliers may perceive themselves as being too far along in their careers to be learning a new tool.

Or too near retirement to learn something new that will only be utilized for a few short years.

For whatever reason they aren’t working in BIM, they are nonetheless dually affected by its increasing use in the organization. They are

  1. perceived as working outside an innovative, growing and continuously developing process.
  2. increasingly perceived as belonging to a culture that no longer exists.

BIM outliers are working at a time when “the way we do things around here” is no longer “the way we do things around here.”

BIM outliers are disrupted because the shared meaning of their organization’s culture has gone the way of hand drafting and CAD.

In other words, the organization’s stories and rituals have changed.

To the extent that a firm’s culture is defined by the encouragement to innovate and take risks, BIM outliers may be perceived as working outside this firm value.

To the degree that the firm’s culture is organized around teams, the BIM outlier may be perceived as working independently, as an individual among teams.

BIM haves and BIM have-nots

It is possible for the BIM outlier to be perceived by others in the firm as representing the firm from their pre-BIM era.

To the extent that this conjures-up pictures of dinosaurs is something to seriously consider.

Your firm may not yet have a BIM culture, with BIM haves and BIM have-nots. But just as one day in the not too distant future, when BIM will be the new standard of care in the AEC industry, so too BIM will be the status quo within most organizations.

And whether through attrition or other means, BIM holdouts will be a faint memory. And the social glue holding your firm in place will be replaced by BIM, just as Horizontal Glue was replaced by BIM 360 Glue.

Your firm’s old culture – like the old guard – played an important role when new technologies and work processes were first introduced. They kept the place together in a time of rapid change.

But chances are, change in your organization is part of the scenery today – no longer requiring the former entrenched culture for stability during uncertain times.

The new culture that BIM brought about has its own (war) stories and rituals, and only those who work with the tools or in the process, can understand and help transmit your culture’s meaning.

Which is doubly disturbing to those who are on the inside while remaining on the outside. Because the stories that make up the culture of the firm will no longer be in a language understood by all.

Unless, of course, you and your coworkers are as skilled at telling stories – in a language that can be understood by all – as you are as working with the technology.

– Randy Deutsch AIA, LEED-AP

In July 2013, I will be leading a 2-day seminar. To learn more, please click the link below:

BIM: Lessons in Leadership

Harvard GSD Executive Education seminar

July 8, 2013 – 9:00am – July 9, 2013 – 5:00pm

Gund Hall, 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

Earn 14 AIA/CES

http://execed.gsd.harvard.edu/programs/bim-lessons-leadership

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