We are an industry where machine and computer power enhance the work of the person, in many cases, making the very jobs we undertake possible. Modeling wouldn’t be feasible if not for the computing power of today’s equipment, from Robotic Total Stations (RTS) units to laptops and cranes.
Is there a disconnect between the technology we’re telling ourselves is working on the job site and what’s actually being used? This was the overarching subject of the most recent episode of the MEP Masterminds virtual event series.
Jake Olsen of DADO discussed the journey that many companies are on when considering technology: “I think there’s an interesting conversation around what it takes to not only implement but adopt software.”
What should the technology adoption process look like at your company? Today, it’s rare for any technology to exist in a vacuum. Invariably it will affect multiple – if not all – departments. For a successful implementation, everyone in the company should be on board, and that requires a culture of innovation.
Within that culture, it’s important to determine what will motivate your employees to contribute to making an implementation successful, as well as what will un-motivate them. In addition, the company needs to make it clear what the desired outcomes are and how they will be measured.
To access the MEP Masterminds virtual event with Jake Olsen on-demand, visit:
Olsen shared a story about a job he visited that resulted in his coining of the phrase “digital divide.” “Our goal was to understand how technology was being used on that job site and really get a feel for potentially what the future will look like, since this was such a progressive job,” he said. “The promise was, ‘this is the paperless job site.’” The plumbing contractor offered to show them around the following week to see this “progressive” project.
When they showed up at the job site, Olsen related, “for the first 30 minutes there was nothing but this guy cursing on the phone to multiple people… they had to move sleeves around because something changed, and I joke you not, he’s in literally piles of drawings,” Olsen said. “We’re thinking… this was the future of construction… and it’s paperless… are you kidding me?”
Olsen said, “It almost seemed like the more tech was being promoted at the owner and GC level, the harder the lives were of the downstream trade contractors. We started calling that the digital divide.”
The digital divide results when a tech tool is available in the office but not readily available in the field. Or perhaps the training on that tech is inadequate. The tools might be unnecessarily complicated, or maybe they just weren’t created with the field in mind. Without a culture of innovation, employees are much less motivated to make tech work for their team or among teams. As frustrating as their current situation might be, fear of the unknown and the fear of making mistakes may be worse.
In breakout sessions during the event, there was discussion about “laggers” in MEP software implementation and the roadblocks that can exist during implementation of new software. One breakout room talked about what implementation “success” looks like. And there remains the nagging question, is it possible to go completely paperless?
A company’s culture of innovation is not only key to successful tech implementations, it’s an important step in bridging the digital divide.
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