Can you do clever? – “The return of the Geek!”

No – this isn’t another episode of the Big Bang Theory, although I am thinking of developing a new personality indicator based on the characters. Do you have obsessive tendencies like Sheldon, or perhaps you’re a bit needy and greedy like Leonard? But thats another tale….

We’re living in challenging times. Economically its very difficult. The built environment industry is very competitive and for an industry where margins are historically low anyway, they just got a lot smaller, and anecdotally in some cases recently negative. This is suicidal in the longterm and for some will spell disaster in the short term. The UK economy will continue to bump along for some time.

How can we get through this? In Darwinian terms those that adapt to this “New Normal” will find a way through. What might the characteristics of that adaption or mutation be?

At a time when the natural thing is to conserve and hold on, I wonder whether this is a time to push and innovate? If you do what you’ve always done, – you get what you’ve always got….we do the same things, repeat the same cycles and expect better or different results. As Einstein apparently said, this is insane.

I think businesses’ and individuals’ ability to innovate and change through these lean times is the key to success and survival. Whilst it is understandable that training and research budgets are cut at times like this, strangely this is exactly what people need. We need to be clever, think of new ideas and solutions that could enable us to get through.

Interestingly using BIM can help in this process, enabling access to efficiencies, economies and intelligence previously off limits.

Which brings us to another level of performance.

If BIM enables me to access quants and costings at the press of a button, what else are you going to do for me Mr QS? Or Mr Architect, if I can use designs and templates from industry digital libraries of information to assemble my projects, what else are you going to do for me? Or Mr Main Contractor – if I can deal directly with the specialist sub-contractors in a digital environment, and design, procure and organise the job in BIM, what else are you going to do for me? Same old business as usual isn’t going to cut it here. We’re going to need fresh ideas, adaptation to a new status quo.

Our industry bangs on about cost but still hasn’t got to grips with value. I think this is the key to getting through and this why we need to do clever and we could well see the rise of the geek. Value added is achieved by being smart, looking for new ways of doing things, and innovating. Individuals and business that do this NOW will be in the lead on the upturn and you won’t see them for dust. They will outperform, do more with less, on a platform that will almost look like like sheer wizardry in comparison to working practises a few years ago.

I think this a great opportunity for SMEs to out perform and out manoeuvre their larger rivals.The digital environment is a great leveller, and as much as this is a new industrial revolution or step change, its also a democratisation  of the process, access to information for all, whether you’re a one person enterprise or a multinational – we’re all information traders now.

Also value over the lifecycle will become the benchmark, the relationship between Capex and Opex will become more open and intrinsically linked. Rising energy costs alone will make people think and act on this issue. But there are other drivers.

As much as Level 2 BIM for the UK is a key target, that’s only the foothills. The really clever stuff, the real value lies beyond 2016 when Level 2 is in place across the industry.A platform for growth and success. Those that have positioned themselves to be clever, agile and value driven over these next few years will be in pole position to inherit the earth – if thats ok with you! Only by that time, you won’t have a choice…..











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