(Enabling) Sharership is the new Leadership

17062008118“Sharership is the new Leadership” Sylvie Sasaki Property Plan A project manager at Marks and Spencer blogging today in Building reminded me this great comment from Jim McLelland @SustMeme), illustrating how social media has progressed to a powerful medium for sharing valuable information  Something not fully recognised or acknowledge by many construction organisation leaders.

Indeed what is key for leadership is to ‘enable‘ sharing through social media, yet many leaders don’t encourage, even actively discourage the use of social media, presenting a negative rather than positive role model. And this presents problems for a digital construction future. I  still hold by comments I made in the Guardian Sustainable Business pages back in 2012:

The biggest barrier to social media take up lies at board and director levels. Most staff within construction organisations will use social media in some personal capacity, a skill and resource to be harnessed for organisational good.

The first and perhaps the most dynamic step an organisation can therefore take in embracing social media and in preparing for Building Information Management, is to ensure that construction directors and boards understand the benefits that managed social media strategies can bring, and enable real open sharing and collaboration.

Sylvie Sasaki Property is right to warn against online networks becoming silos. Yet we can see an emergence of a new connected construction generation, connected in real-time across organisations, sectors and countries, indeed across existing silos, often under the umbrella of hashtags, forming digital communities of practice.

These groupings of sharing conversations, with focus on sustainability, building information management and collaborative working, with participants that are both generous and expert. Helping others long before and after help is needed and in one or more areas that others value and acknowledge. A prime example is the #UKBIMCrew digital community

And all this represents additional pressure on leaders, and on the importance of having robust social media strategies and protocols in place for staff.  Indeed the rise of social media has led to a communications shift in the way construction shares information and participates in conversations. Now based on engagement, relationships and trust, replacing the historical construction approaches of competitiveness, and fear of sharing.

Please do get in touch: Knowing where to start with social media as a construction director or leader can be confusing, but we can provide a no nonsense introduction and strategic approach.  This topic is explored further in my article to be published in Construction Innovation: Information, Process, Management later this year.

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Signage – Why I became dis-enchanted with facilities management

Why I became dis-enchanted with facilities management a decade ago was brought back to me this morning. On the doors to the public toilets at Kendal Hospital was a sign, in bold on a yellow background, warning users that ‘air fresheners used in these toilets may cause discomfort to asthma sufferers’ ( I didn’t have a camera or phone with me at the time unfortunately)

So why continue to use? Even more so why continue to use in a hospital? So where do sufferers go?

I used to joke that a facilities management gut response was to put up a sign, I recall a presentation of mine way back, in 2004, titled “FM- Now Wash Your Hands” (Must find it!)

Surely if there is any hint that a material or product is harmful or cause discomfort,  it should not be used it, full stop – ie the precautionary principle, core to for example the Living Building Challenge Materials red list.

The world of corporate social responsibility is moving on from do no harm, to positively do more good to improve health. Wouldn’t it be great it that sign read  ‘air fresheners used in these toilets will enhance your health’. Instead the FM team know it may irritate asthma suffers, so do nothing, other than put up a sign and wash hands of responsibility?

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Embedding BIM into the fabric of sustainability.

calgary treesBIM has a far deeper application than just a design modelling, construction or facilities management tool. This fact has been highlighted recently through a number of events and conversations, for example;

A couple of weeks back, I interviewed Denis Hayes as part of our Sustainability Leadership Conversation (#sustldrconv) series. Denis was founder of earth day way back in 1974, and is now CEO of the Bullitt Centre in Seattle, obviously no newcomer to environmental issues or deep green sustainability, but I was interested in Denis’ views on the role of BIM and ‘Big Data’ in todays sustainability agenda. here is an extract from a soon to be published article based on that interview

MB Denis, how do you see the role of BIM and Big Data in deep green sustainability?

DH Analysis of big data is key, living buildings need cerebral cortex and Central Nervous System to function, big data helps see patterns, offers vast potential, but right now there is too much noise and not enough signal and analysis.   

Also in May, during the Construction21 Virtual Expo, I was inspired by the conversation with Delta Development CEO Coert Zachariasse. Delta have applied Cradle to Cradle thinking to their business and projects, For example, they don’t own the materials in their buildings in the traditional sense, but view buildings as material banks, with every building having a residual value at the end of its life through the value of its materials. (A value that is recognised, included on the budget sheet and reduces the project costs, the alternative, more common thinking is that demolition and waste adds costs to the project)

Whilst this is inspiring, the fact that BIM provides the engine behind this approach is very interesting – using BIM to track and maximise residual value, providing the data to create material passports and undertake the value decisions.

As I tweeted from that conversation:

“BIM meets #CradletoCradle – Delta Development use #BIM to develop Material Passports thru supply chain,  Coert Zachariasse CEO at #EXPOC21″

Later in the day at EXPOC21, during the panel debate on the need for a European Building Performance Directive, Frank Hovorka – President- Sustainable Building Alliance commented that BIM is the essential core for any Building Performance Directive

But of course built environment sustainability is ‘just’ not about energy or building performance, it is also, or more so about health and social dimensions as well. The data needed to make informed decisions for sustainability needs to encompass stories, context and knowledge. However with knowledge reduced to a status of information in todays digital universe, we need the skills to unpack information from BIM and Big data

Embedding BIM data into the fabric of sustainability is key, and to borrow the brilliant expression from Casey Rutland and Vicky Lockhart at ARUP – its all about SustainaBIMity.

Regarding BIM through this lens, we in the built environment need to move quickly, to clean the data we have from noise, provide better analysis, and make informed regenerative sustainable decisions. In an age of disrupt or be disrupted – if we don’t do so from within the sector, someone from outside will.

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Living Building Challenge 3.0 Released

International Living Future Institute refines and upgrades the building certification program to raise the bar even higher for restorative design. 

PORTLAND, Ore. — May 22, 2014 —The International Living Future Institute™ today
released the next iteration of the Living Building Challenge.

Widely considered the built environment’s most rigorous performance standard,
Living Building Challenge, the 3.0 version represents an important step forward in the
program’s evolution, with several new innovative elements as well as important
refinements.

“These changes reflect the many discussions and compelling feedback provided by
Living Building Challenge project teams pursuing certification,” says Amanda
Sturgeon, the International Living Future Institute’s Vice President in charge of the
Living Building Challenge. “We believe the 3.0 version of the program helps advance
our goal to rapidly diminish the gap between current limits and the end-game positive
solutions we seek in the built environment and beyond.”

On initial reading, I am (perhaps not surprisingly) impressed with the more headline improvements, reinforcing that there is more to built environment sustainability than just the building.

  • The Site Petal renamed the Place Petal, reflecting deeply held belief in viewing each project location as a place with unique and important  characteristics.
  • A more clearly defined Equity Petal, which integrates with JUST™. This is encouraging, not only reflecting the current interest in Equity issues as a key component of sustainability, but embedding within the standard.
  • The Car Free Living imperative becomes Human Powered Living, including “Advocacy in the community to facilitate the uptake of human powered transportation”
  • Water and Energy is simplified, for water ‘net zero water’ redefining water as a precious resource’ and for energy ‘net zero energy’. One hundred and five percent of the project’s energy needs must be supplied by on-site renewable energy on a net annual basis, without the use of on-site combustion. Profoundly simple, profoundly challenging.
  • Happiness is added to the Health imperative, this is a great move, taking the sector responsibility beyond just healthy buildings. A built environment salutogenesis – focus on what makes people happy and healthy – rather than the causes of ill health or sick building syndrome.
  • Appropriate Sourcing strengthened to Living Economy Sourcing in respect of location for materials and services.
  • I am not so sure about renaming of Conservation and Reuse as Net Zero Waste.  A strength of the 2.0 imperative was that is was not called Waste, moving the focus upstream to deal with causes of waste.  The strengthening of circular economy, cradle to cradle thinking is to be to welcomed with the requirement to find ways to integrate waste back into either an industrial loop or natural nutrient loop.
  • Imperative 18 is a big focus on the JUST programme, requiring at least one  project team members must have a JUST Label for their organisation. But why is the contractor not one of those required to do so is surprising. It is more likely that the contractor will have the least just practices, thinking for example of diversity within construction organisations and unacceptable labour practices on football stadium in Qatar. An opportunity missed?
  • Another opportunity missed may be in the education imperative. One of the most powerful means of communicating and sharing sustainability lessons and advances is through social media. It’s great that every project should have an educational website, but also real-time sharing through blogs and (eg) twitter could be a very powerful advocacy platform.

More observations and insights to follow, but once again the Living Building Challenge raises the bar, but there is more to come …

In response to the growing need for sustainability solutions that move across industries and scales and better address the social and environmental crises humanity now faces, the International Living Future Institute™ has created the Living Future Challenge ™.

Based on the elegant and profound architecture of the Living Building Challenge, utilising nature as the ultimate end-game metric for success, the Living Future Challenge will extend to all aspects of society as various programs are launched over the next few years: Living Buildings, Living Communities, Living Products, Living Food, Living Enterprises, Living Lifestyles. 

Living Building Challenge 3.0 can be found here.

Further Reading and Blogs

Living Future “unConference” Sets New Model of Shared Resources by @PaladinoandCo

What You Need to Know About the Living Building Challenge 3.0 by @KatieWeeks

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Sustainability made Cool? Day one at #EXPOC21

Well, day one of the Virtual Green Build EXPO was fun – and a success.  From chats within the show, comments across twitter and elsewhere the comments from visitors have been very positive indeed.

BnmBaoYIAAEl1RDAnd importantly I sensed green build and sustainable construction had been made cool.

The EXPO hosted by Construction21 on the HyperFair platform has attracted just under 200 exhibitors from all corners of Europe and hopes to attract up to 20,000 visits to the show. Steve Borncamp, driving force behind the show commented  “it was exciting to see people interact in this new medium from so many countries & consBnltphoIEAAvTn2truction disciplines”

As soon as the doors opened at 7.30 this morning, visitors were taking snaps of their avatars and booths and sharing on twitter, claiming firsts and the virtual-selfie was born. (There is a photo comp with prizes being coordinated by our friends at Green Vision)

Observing the avatar arrivals to the EXPO,  there was a period where they customised appearance, read any notices and instruction notes and then zipped off into the Reception area, or vanished, teleporting to the stands or auditorium.

Visiting the stands was actually easier and more enjoyable than a real show, being able to chat and pick up brochures, watch videos and read posters with ease. I had numerous business card exchanges and agreements to get in touch after the show to discuss possible collaboration on Living Building Challenge, sustainability, green schools and social media, including a future discussion to be had on possible funding. I would have considered it a very good day at any real life show.

BnloKNQIMAIxn7oAside from the stands there was a brilliant programme of debates and expert videos running throughout the day. I watched a couple, impressed with the “Time for a sustainable buildings performance directive?” panel debate and learnt from  Coert Zachariasse CEO at Delta Developments who combined Cradle to Cradle with BIM and commented that “Buildings are just material banks” Brilliant Stuff!  WorldGBCEurope who coordinated the panel debate series observed We had some great debates as part of the first day. Speakers from industry, policy-makers and NGOs. Now looking forward to day two”

During the day I held a few in-show twitter chats which illustrated the enthusiasm of those attending This kind of event is definitely the future! Exhibitions are tiring & have not questioned their concept for ages” commented Philippa Rogers at InterfaceUK, adding ” I’ve immediately adopted this virtual concept as I have to admit I’m not a big fan of traditional exhibitions”

And that experience was shared by others as Elrond Burrell explains Attending the virtual expo was a novel experience. I visited virtual stands, browsed exhibitors brochures & exchanged virtual business cards & chatted with other attendees via the web interface. It’s a bit clunky to navigate but also kind of fun. I quickly resorted to teleporting rather than virtually walking around though! I think it is an interesting step to have a virtual expo but is still aiming to be a virtual representation of a real expo, rather than completely embracing web tech and rethinking what an expo actually is, if it takes place virtually”

And the show has a nice innovative sustainability touch beyond the virtual – Steve Borncamp again we want our virtual event to have a physical legacy in the form of a building project that will offset the c02 of this event and inspire a much higher level of ambition for our buildings and communities in Europe and for the world” (exhibitors have been able to offset the carbons they would have emitted in travelling to real shows).

Day Two opens at 7:30am UK time with sign up and log in here. And who knows, could  a post event virtual tweet up be on the cards?

 

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When a wall is looking this good you’ve got to love it!

Amidst grand sustainability strategies, the upcoming virtual green build expo and the recent corporate green build events, its sometimes easy to overlook the core basics of good green sustainable construction. I was reminded of this just this week by the nice people at Greenstone in Todmodoren, with an email and invite for their straw bale and cob building and courses this summer.

When introducing Living Building Challenge (as I did this week at the Lancs Construction Best Practice Clubs Earthday event and at GreenBuild EXPO) I love introducing concepts of biophilia to people, as often it’s new, an area not on most construction people’s sustainability radar at the moment. It’s a point in the presentations where people always come alive, ask questions and jot down the references to E.O.Wilson or Last Child in the Woods.

However, in addition to biophilic aspects in design that create better, healthier buildings to live or work in, and indeed in addition to applying biophilic considerations for temporary site accommodation, we need to understand better and promote biophilia in construction, working with natural materials that not only have no health hazards, possibly have health benefits, give real joy and satisfaction in construction as well as all the good local and community benefits.

 

Greenstone are running a series of self-contained green building courses, led by the wonderful Emma Appleton, with a focus on Straw Bale and Cob Building as part of building a new straw bale classroom at a local school in Todmorden. Courses are running in July and August, for more information contact info@greenstone-design.co.uk or check out the twitter accounts for GreenStone and Emma

Now I need to find the space in my diary and try to get to one of these courses!

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Co-collaboration

So what is co-collaboration?images (1)

In a recent publication, Towards New Innovative Collaborations, on recent blog posts, and I dare say in workshops and presentations,  I have used the term co-collaboration. It’s a clumsy term I know, one I have been taken to task on and one that needs clarification, but in my mind, describes the emerging collaboration brought about by increased used of social media and networks

It is now widely excepted that collaboration on a project is a key success factor, its no longer a nice to have skill, but a capability must have.  Its more often than not a high scoring topic in bids and PQQ’s.  (But, incidentally, poorly measured and monitored throughout the project, unless that is things go wrong and relationships revert to un-collaborative type)

Learning and sharing within a collaborative team is an essential, but our industry is moving towards the point where this is not enough. There is a growing expectation to share experiences, share lessons learnt, often within the context of ‘stories’, beyond the project team, beyond company barriers, for the good of the not only our built environment sector but also our clients sector. And it is in this exciting area where I find myself working more and more.

Communities of practice are growing, freely sharing and co-creating  to advance understanding and development. For example in the BIM arena with UKBIMCrew, in social media with BE2Camp, the networks associated to twitter tweetchats on CSR (#CSRChat) the Bathroom and Kitchens tribe (#kbtribechat) and our own sustainability leadership conversations (#sustldrconv) and many other social / un-conference groups

As individuals, we are increasingly are contributing to and sharing more on industry wikis such as designing buildings wiki and through industry, organisation and company blogs.

And it is this emergence I refer to as co-collaboration, a mashup or co-creating + collaborating

“We must harness the collective power of unconventional partnerships to dramatically redefine the way we thrive in the future” Hannah Jones, Nike

Yet recognition of the importance of this co-collaboration is slow, with leaders seemingly reluctant to move from keeping best practice in house or wrapped as PR when communicated. It may well be a future success factor for leading organisations  who embrace the ‘value of what we know is in sharing it” ethos.

Related:

Collaboration makes construction lean  In this excellent article by Karen Wilhelm which mashes up collaborative working, lean, BIM, 3D and 4D design, collaborative contracts, value chains ….

Sustainable futures require collective power of unconventional partnerships Early today I came across this excellent quote* from Hannah Jones, Nike’s global head of sustainability and innovation …

Towards New Innovative Collaborations  November 1 2013 Our recent publication “Towards New Innovative Collaborations” exploring PPP Public Private Partnerships and Collaborative Working within a changing built environment is now available through Amazon …

Team Building in the Age of BIM May 1, 2014 http://www.architectmagazine.com/ Building Information Modeling (BIM) by itself does not cultivate meaningful engagement. Collaboration skills and processes are essential, and they transcend technology and tools. I would underscore the point that it is the less tangible elements of collaboration—a nuanced and subtle skill set—that provide the magic that transforms the most challenging projects into great works of architecture.

 

 

 

 

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