Communications:  Are They Listening 

The Design Technology Summit will kick off July 17, 2019, in Seattle Washington. I hope you were able to get your application submitted in time before all the spots were accepted and filled. Yes! We did sell out this year, and we anticipate a lively, thought-provoking discussion. I look forward to seeing everyone.

If you are wondering, “How did I miss this opportunity to participate?” then I would like to ask you the same question, “How did YOU miss the opportunity?” In an industry where communication is the primary function, why do we struggle daily with electronic communication and follow-up?

“Communication” (or lack of, or too much) is one of the most popular complaints that staff members have about their workplaces. We are constantly attacked with emails, text messages, instant messages, phone calls, and intranet posts and updates from various platforms, along with personal pop-ups that seem to be on everyone’s multiple devices. Replying is not the problem—we all respond quickly when we care. It is those messages that are deemed less important that causes the issues. But, someone determined the message to be significant enough to take the time to author and send it to you. Culturally, it is rude to not listen, so why do we not read the information presented to us?

“Culture is the most powerful tool for creating value that an organization has, because it directs behavior,” said Kyle Brost, Principal of Choice Strategy. “Company culture is comprised of the learned (or assumed) behavior patterns within an organization. A key element of these behavior patterns is that they are built on deeper assumptions. So, the three important components of company culture are that they are learned, they are patterns, and there is an underlying assumption driving them.”
Since culture can be learned, and culture help drives our communication skills, the changes that must be implemented to drive a cultural change in today’s technology environment must be ever revolving.  The initial experience the end users have will impact the success of adaptation.  Technology implementations must create the right experience to assist in encouraging change and not just change the process.  Culture must be fostered to encourage new experiences and training should be designed not only for the new technology, but the thought process needed to adopt change.
In Seattle this July we will be creating a great experience at DTS 2019 to start the process of learning how to help overcome cultural barriers to positively effect change within your organizations. Hope to see you there.
While DTS 2019 is sold out, we bet now that you won’t miss the next opportunity. Stay tuned for announcements regarding DTS 2020. We’d hate for you to miss that email.

DTS Speaker Spotlight: Jarod Schultz

The Design Technology Summit (DTS) brings together professionals from the AEC industry that have an impact on implementing technology within their firms. DTS has been utilizing small forum discussions since its conception and we are excited to incorporate round tables with BiLT NA 2019 Thursday’s sessions. This format will allow attendees to be involved with the discussion in greater depth and provide a wider swath of topics to be communicated by each attendee.

At DTS 2019 in Seattle, Jarod will be conducting a round-table for DTS, “People, Process, and Technology – Can We Tame the Tornado?” A session that will explore the rapid advancement of our design tools, along with staff, and their workflows, everyone has had to make changes. This disruption, and how everyone uses their design tools to deliver their projects, it has been an ongoing headache in the AEC industry.

Jarod Schultz has been an active participate in shaping the AEC industry since the early stages of his career and will continue to do so in his current role as Director of Research and Development for MasterGraphics.AEC out of their Denver office. Jarod works with a team to develop new solutions that his client’s value: inventing new concepts, workflows, and processes. Collaborating with early adopters and innovators, He has worked on projects that have comprised of; bio-mimicry, sustainability, computational, and generative design solutions. His team also develops software applications which requires him to analyze, plan, implement, and be a scrum master for the project.

Jarod’s personal life even embodies the need for process improvement and speed. Outside of work, Jarod loves anything that is fast, combustible or electric. He appreciates anyone that can take anything and improve it for speed and handling. Even with his mental approach, he is always looking to improve the process. As a Kaizen Event/Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, he embodies a thought process to look at something and make it better; either for himself or what is around him.

As we explore how this disruption impacts the design process, we will be reminded about the impact of ContinousNext and that everyone should be prepared to face and adopt changes in technology, competition and business.

DTS and BiLT NA 2019 will be held July 17th – 20th in Seattle Washington. This is a unique event that is ran ‘by users, for users’, and is a great place to get advice from peers who are knowledgeable yet still wanting to learn themselves. Plan on attending and register today.

AI and the future of the AE Industry

We are fast approaching DTS 2018 on August 7th, and the enthusiasm is building! The committee has been busy finalizing discussion topics and the excitement has been mounting with each meeting.  We look forward to thought-provoking and impassioned dialogues on present day digital practice topics and challenges.

This year, a hot topic that is quickly becoming a pervasive presence in our every day lives is AI. True AI has yet to infect the AE industry though there are lots of examples that come close. What aspects of an Architectural practice or Engineering practice would we want to involve artificial thinking?  How would we “teach” it and what challenges must we overcome to benefit the most from (unbiased? Logical?) Digital thinking? If we were able to record every answer to each day’s design or management questions, what format does that take to make it consumable by a “digital brain”? And how then does that information get regurgitated when it’s needed?


We talk about Artificial Intelligence as being the next great disseminator of information in tomorrow’s world, but we seem to skip the part on how we gather the information.  We are seeing web browsers recommending products to purchase, smart cars starting to drive themselves, and autocorrect putting words into my messages that I have no idea what they mean.  The design industry is influenced so much by personal experiences and emotions, that trying to translate that factor into a simple on/off algorithm might appear to be next to impossible.


But what is impossible today may not be tomorrow. We must figure out the right questions to ask.  The growing connection between people via technology is allowing us to look into everyone’s daily habits, learn their routines, and now we can attempt to connect this data with the design process.  But we still have the issue, “What questions do we want to ask?”


We will be discussing these questions along with many others at DTS 2018, August 7th-8th in St. Louis.  If you already know the answer or you have even better questions, join us! There are a few seats open!

The Death of the Physical Model?

Model building has been around since day 1 of architectural school for most of us, and for some, it even started when we were younger with a model car and smelling the glue. For the newer generations, it may have been the first LEGO model set at your fifth birthday party from Aunt Sue. No matter which generation you come from, building a model has been an integral part of the design process in architecture. The emotions a physical model creates by being able to touch, see, and spin it around cannot completely be replicated by a computer-generated image.


Even with all the technical advancements of computer 3D modeling, virtual reality, and photo-realistic rendering, model building has been on the decline in today’s architecture offices, yet most everyone proclaims that it is a needed tool that  architects should possess in their tool kits. The industry has been continually developing the process in which we can take a computer-generated model and automate the model building process.


Well my Aunt Sue would say “I don’t understand all this computer stuff, but I know that one of my freshly baked peach pies is a lot more palatable than some computerized pie on a screen.” And she has a point. Our 5 senses working in unison help us understand to a much greater degree. The more of our senses that we can engage in our models and visualizations, the more understanding our clients may have. Must everything we do be so strictly digital?


To learn more, make sure you’re registered for this year’s DTS in St Louis on August 7-8, 2018.


The Future of Automation: How far should we go?

Automation seems to be all around us, from the everyday ATMs, to the evolving self-driving cars, but the question remains: just because we can automate, should we?


We all would love to find that extra hour in our days—whether it be at work or at home, the allure of finding a way to make a repetitive task automatic is definitely attractive. Automating tasks essential to healthy living—brushing teeth, taking medication, homework (though that would take some doing) would be a big step toward a healthy, happy, productive life. We do not think about most of these tasks, we just get up and do them, but trying to mechanically automate such personal experiences does not seem practical. So how do we start automating a design process that engages everyone at an individual level?


The design process starts with the program, or the idea of a space is where design begins. In this phase, we, as designers, evaluate, analyze, anticipate every ounce of data we can gather to try and predict the needs that will arise tomorrow, ten, fifteen, even 20 years in the future. With sensors being an evolving product, the ability to automate the gathering of space usage information could be the next exciting starting point for automation.


After programming phase is complete, this is where automation could continue to benefit the design team. Computational design has given us the ability to twist, turn, push or pull so many variations, before running analysis on each to determine the most desired option. Where is the architect’s influence? Have we taken the pen out of their hands?


Now the design has been determined and documentation must take place, or does it? The idea of “modeling more and documenting less” was a point that stuck with me as I left the 2017 DTS conference, and now a year later, still sticks with me.  Modeling becomes the new documenting and by adding the data into the spaces, we could start to allow technology to produce model components based on desired specifications.


Can we automate the process of producing documents for compliance in the different jurisdictions? 


Can we automate the process to go from design, straight to construction robotics?


We can automate and most of us agree we should, but how do we humanize automation and how does it integrate coherently with the designers?


Despite all those questions and their answers, automation was the beginning of an industrial revolution and could be the tool to transform the construction industry as we move towards a better delivery method as designers.