In the last of this series, putting an Egan principle into practice with BIM

Frank McLeod

Hopefully you’ve been following my recent columns (column one, column two) and are up to speed with my thought process. My next question for you is how do you make an enterprise of 17,000 people, producing terabyte after terabyte of information for thousands of clients over hundreds of offices across the world, work efficiently, effectively and economically? Well, very carefully actually.

We need to work together as a collective, while maintaining our individuality, flair and creativity. We need to share our work openly with ourselves and others. I started reading books like Gung Ho, Lessons in Radical Innovation and Business at the Speed of Thought. Not new books, quite old actually, but dealing with the principles of working together from both the sociological and technological axis.

Can we please get on and fix our industry?

I need a digital platform to work on; an agnostic stage on which to perform. Bill Gates told me, not personally you understand, that I need a digital nervous system.

In his book Business at the Speed of thought, he declares, “a digital nervous system is the corporate digital equivalent of the human nervous system, providing a well-integrated flow of information to the right part of the organisation at the right time. A digital nervous system consists of the digital processes that enable a company to perceive and react to its environment, to sense competitor challenge and customer needs, and to organise timely responses. A digital nervous system requires a combination of hardware and software; it’s distinguished from a mere network of computers by the accuracy, immediacy and richness of the information it brings to knowledge workers and the insight and collaboration made possible by the information.”

Can you see where I’m going? This is it, let the others do the conferences and the lectures. Can we please get on and fix our industry? The above statement was made in 1999 - that’s 15 years ago. Give it a name, if you want to, this is BIM.

Frank McLeod is UK head of project technology for WSP