Bringing the Fire, pt 2
It’s been roughly 7 weeks since Autodesk University and when Jonathan Marsh wrote his piece Construction Technologists And Where To Find Them. Since then there have been some of my own thoughts rattling around in my own head that left me wanting to write and add on to what Jonathan so eloquently said. Much of what he said is a lot of what I’ve been noodling about when I think of how to find and define a Construction Technologist (AKA ConTechs, AKA Construction Dorks). He said it so well that I really just want to highlight a point or two as well as maybe offer up some additional thoughts.
The primary point or theme I want to hit on is the concept that Prometheus (or a typical Construction Dork) is passionate about making things BETTER for everyone. I know this seems grandiose, but the majority of the Dorks I’ve met really are thinking along these lines when we talk tech and when we look to apply it to our work. We are intensely passionate about it, as Jonathan points out. When I’m sitting around and talking with these peers, we are very open, honest, transparent and traditional lines between competitors or roles in the Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Owner chain blur. We look around our projects, inside and outside of our own teams, and freely share where we think things might be done easier or more efficiently.
I keep going back to hearing Ricardo Khan telling me about coopetition (defined by the Googles as “ collaboration between business competitors, in the hope of mutually beneficial results”). A concept that made it’s way into my presentation at AU’s Connect & Construct event. I feel like many of us Dorks believe along these lines. The overwhelming majority of us have no qualms sharing our tips, tricks, theories, and best practices with anyone who asks… or even if they don’t ask. Again, we want to make our entire industry better. That will include even our competition. If they get better, we get better.
Like I said, sounds very grandiose, but industry transformations are like that. They are big, but we also know that, for the most part, we can only change what we can touch. Each and every one of us only has a certain sphere of influence, but this group of passionate people are coming together and pushing and growing to shove our beloved construction industry headlong into its digital transformation.
And, like Jonathan points it, it takes all sorts of people to make this happen. I was at a Builtworlds Workforce event at the end of the year and I heard something that really hit home (and sadly I can’t remember the woman’s name who said this or what panel she was on so I apologize if you read this and recognize your words). An innovator isn’t always the person who creates the next big thing or comes up with a creative use for a tool. Sometimes an innovator is one who is the “Implementor”. They can cause just as much change within an organization or even an industry by helping to drive adoption.
We all want to find these Implementors that can look at a device, software package, tool, or process and think of the greatest thing since Laser Shark Drones Scanning Blockchain™ (pat. pending), but don’t overlook the people who can see past the shine of the new toy and dive in to getting it implemented and returning the value that it promised. These people are passionate and can inspire others around them to get passionate and bring back the shine or find new ways for further innovations from perhaps previously untapped sources.
I think there is another class of Dorks I think I see out there are what I’ll call “Connectors”. These people seem to have a knack at looking across technology and their organizations and seeing the different tools as Lego pieces. That proverbial 30,000 foot view is common place to them. They can look at that “flat blue 6 dot piece” and can see how to put it with the “blue skinny ramp” so that it’ll turn into robot.
These Connectors try to look across their entire tech stack and find ways to connect them up to squeeze every last bit of functionality out of them. They realize that sometimes 1+1 can really equal 3. They look for ways to mash tools together and connect disjointed workflows. They look to guide decisions in a manner that allows for this ecosystem to develop. When survey solutions, the can see that key part that will complete a key section of the puzzle.
We need all of these people, the Creator, the Implementor, and the Connector, and they all exist out there in our industry. We’re starting to talk. We’re starting to connect more. We’re pushing to make the entire industry better, starting right at home. Some of us are one type Dork, some are a mixture of all or even other traits I haven’t even thought about. The key piece is always that passion to improve our industry and we all find our own particular ways to focus that passion. We can do better. We are doing better. We will continue to do better. Construction Dorks, unite!