"Right" BIM Thinking

Does our thinking need to change in order to do BIM well? How?

What is "right thinking" when it comes to BIM, anyway? How is it different than "right thinking" was 5 or ten years ago? How do you train for it? Can the playing field to accommodate "right BIM thinking" better?

Question by Brian Lighthart in LinkedIn Group BIM Experts

It's Saturday AM and I'm catching up on reading I didn't have time for earlier in the week, so I thought I would pass along this gem I found. I would suggest you read the discussion since, in my humble opinion, this is one of the more insightful questions asked around the general topic of BIM. Those of you who are part of the new rush to use BIM will find this discussion either enlightening or obtuse or even dark. The truth of the matter is Building Information Modeling / Management is a technology still in it's early development. An adolescent at best. All the stakeholders who could benefit haven't weighed in yet. All the potential benefits haven't even been defined, discovered or delivered. And definitely not all the right questions have been asked.

Brian followed up in the question asking how to train for BIM or maybe how to think about BIM. My only response to that is not technical, but more anthropological. BIM and the issues around it are seeing a cacophony of voices seeking predominance over others around themselves as a technology-based solution when we haven't even thought through what this tool might be from a social framework viewpoint. Most of us haven't stopped to think about what is it we intend to do with this thing and is that intention beneficial. 

So how do you train someone to be intentional thinkers?  How do you train folks to be critical thinkers. How do you train them to look beyond their traditional experience boundaries? I'm not sure about those answers, but I do believe that over the next 10 years that is the kind of thinking and working that needs to be done. Bring together broadly based stakeholders and get them to find a consensus surrounding the value stream BIM creates and is it a sustainable value? When that begins to happen we may begin to see some progress and serious adoption of BIM and the process. 

My take on this is there are probably many different views, value streams and derived solutions which come from differing experiences. Each may have as many different positive value streams as another, making each as valuable as another, depending on your viewpoint. So designers, contractors, vendors, fabricators, owners, facility managers, facility operators, jurisdictional authorities, social scientists, anthropologists and many others will all see some sameness and differential in the value of BIM. 

If you think this is just for futurists and software folks, no. Every firm, of any type, needs to think about your initial intentional use of BIM. As you gain more experience, continually evaluate what you expect from BIM and how can BIM deliver more value to your clients and constituents. How you think about BIM will be greatly influenced by the intended outcomes you seek and whether or not those outcomes are validated to create any sustained value. 

So, who am I to say this way or another is the "right" way to think about BIM. If all of us are willing to be open-minded and use critical and intentional in our thinking we will soon find BIM may create a value from our viewpoint never before thought of before and that is just as important as any value determined before we had our epiphany. 

All I ask is to remember that "Collaboration is the glue of success."

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