Saturday, March 20, 2010

Importance of Collaboration in Construction Industry and Tim Brown's Idea on "Thinking Big"

Tim Brown says the design profession is preoccupied with creating nifty, fashionable objects -- even as pressing questions like clean water access show it has a bigger role to play. He calls for a shift to local, collaborative, participatory "design thinking."

Lean Project Delivery System (LPDS) /Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) calls for collaboration from all project stakeholder -owners, architects,engineers,general contractors, subcontractors,suppliers ......... Tim Bron's idea on "Thinking Big" calls for the same in every design.

Tim Brown's generic idea about importance of participation in design (product design or process design or service design or .... any other design) spells out clearly that greater participation brings better products and same is true for collaboration in construction. Collaboration during design and delivery of any construction project brings new ideas on table and discussions among participants makes them more open about their approach to solve any problem. People who are practicing collaboration have reported many successful cases and number is increasing exponentially. For more collaboration case studies visit this blog

First Run Studies of "Last Planner System" and Tim Brown on "powerful relationship between creative thinking and play"

At the 2008 Serious Play conference, designer Tim Brown talks about the powerful relationship between creative thinking and play -- with many examples you can try at home (and one that maybe you shouldn't).

First run studies (as lean construction defines) are "used to redesign critical assignments, part of continuous improvement effort; and include productivity studies and review work methods by redesigning and streamlining the different functions involved. The studies commonly use video files, photos, or graphics to show the process or illustrate the work instruction. The first run of a selected craft operation should be examined in detail, bringing ideas and suggestions to explore alternative ways of doing the work."

Tim talks in this video about the importance of role play and creativity. Same concept is true for 'first run studies.' The first run of the craft operation or design done in a playful manner may create innovative solutions.

Lean community, by being more playful in each and every activity (implementation and practice of lean techniques in construction) can actually bring the change in traditional project management practices and help construction industry reduce waste and increase value on projects.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Diffusion of Innovation and a Beautiful Piece of Art

It has been argued since long that diffusion of innovation takes time and typically follows a curve as shown below.

Same is the case with BIM at the present times. Experts employ different tactics to make transition more smooth and make people more conformable with the new ways of doing things or new thinking for instance (ex. lean management in construction). They share stories, create games and do all sorts of things to make learning and transition, from traditional practices to new, more fun and easier for early adopters.
Making something fun is a work of art and it requires creativity. So this makes one point clear that managers have to be artists at some point of time.
I came across this wonderful piece of art, a story, by James salmon that clearly identifies and highlights the importance of BIM and common standards for delivering a BIM to the owner - a BIM that owner can use for facility management. The story is so compelling that I was lured to share it with you.
The story of "Katy's Birthday"
Katy is Daddy's little princess and she wanted a Castle for her birthday. Daddy told her, "Honey, you cannot have a real Castle," and she cried. So Daddy rented an inflatable Castle, which was better than nothing and Katy was still upset. So Mommy invited Katy's friends to bring their wooden toy blocks to the party and build her a real Castle.
Johnny brought BIM blocks by Revit, Sally brought Bentley BIM blocks, little Susie brought BIM blocks produced by Tekla, and half a dozen other children brought special BIM blocks built with their favorite software application. The children built a beautiful Castle and Katy loved it.
As the party was winding down Johnny's Mom said, "Grab your blocks Johnny, and let's go." Johnny ran to the table and began grabbing his blocks, causing Katy's Castle to collapse! Katy began to cry, upset at the sight of the collapsed Castle. The parents gathered in the corner whispering, and the decision was made to leave all the blocks with Katy.
All the blocks were placed in a single box, Revit Blocks, Bentley Blocks, Tekla Blocks and half a dozen other brightly colored BIM blocks. Smiling, Johnny handed Katy the box, saying, "Here's your Castle Katy!" Katy stared sourly at the box and mumbled. "Thanks" in a very ungrateful tone of voice.
Katy retreated to her room and sat staring at the box of blocks, trying to remember how the beautiful Castle fit together, but she was unable to rebuild it by herself. Her departed friends were the only ones who knew the secret of how the Revit, Bentley and Tekla blocks fit together. Almost none of her friends knew how the special notches in the remaining half dozen blocks fit together. Katy could never rebuild the Castle.
Owners face Katy's dilemma at the end of every project. They are handed a "box" of BIM blocks that don't fit together and the owner has now idea how to put the Castle together again. Of course, those are the sophisticated owners who know enough to demand BIM in the first place. Most owners allow the Castle builders to walk away with the BIM blocks and are left with nothing.
Ultimately, owners need As-BUILT-BIM with flexible mechanisms for managing the vast amount of information contained therein, connecting that information to and leveraging it over the Web and treating the information like the valuable digital asset it is. New entrepreneurial business processes will emerge as owners and others leverage these new digital assets to add value to the underlying business purposes the facilities / infrastructure were constructed to fulfill. When owners learn to leverage these new digital assets real demand for true As-BUILT-BIM will skyrocket.