Launching the Sustainable Leadership Conversation

imagesSustainability is moving into new territories, with new leaders and leadership styles emerging.

Across all industries, we now see many leading organisations stepping forward and placing sustainability truly at the core of their leadership.  At the same time, the use of social media is increasingly being used as a powerful tool for engaging, learning and sharing for collective sustainability leadership and organisational development.

Whether through corporate accounts or personal accounts tied to corporations, social media has the power to provide role models who are willing to share their experience and wisdom with others – through content creation (articles, blog posts) and content curation (sharing of key research or important discussions happening in a variety of places online).

The development of this sustainability leadership, amplified through social media is to be celebrated and shared broadly to impact the biggest picture we are all so passionate about – a sustainable future.

That’s why we, Andrea Learned and Martin Brown, have decided to come together, collaborate, and to co-host something we’ll call #sustldrconv (Sustainability Leadership Conversation). Our intention is to develop a sustained (pun could not be avoided!) and fluid conversation on just this topic.

Ideally, this will develop into a programme of Twitter conversations (and move into other networks) all toward understanding the issues facing sustainability leadership and how to use social media to learn and grow as quickly and solidly as possible.

We hope that our independent backgrounds and solid sustainability social networks will ensure a thoughtful and fun transfer of sustainability learning across sectors – and indeed transatlantic collaboration across ‘the pond’ and beyond.

The built environment, perhaps more than any other field/industry/category has huge influence on sustainability, and cannot be considered in isolation.  Every corporation, NGO, private and public sector organization operates within it.  What happens in the built environment has huge implications for all.

#SustLdrConv will kick off (July 30 at 12 noon PT, 3 pm ET, 8 pm BST) with a tweetchat, with examples of such partnerships, ideas or powerful new ones  and exploring the questions: So just what is sustainable leadership? Are we ready to partner with built environment organisations to co-create a sustainable future?

#SustLdrConv will, in the future develop beyond tweetchats, and include interviews, case studies, learning material and coaching.  The intention will be to continue these conversations across and outside social media boundaries.

#SustLdrConv is about how companies and people, those already on the journey and those still under the radar, are gathering experience and wisdom that we can all learn from.

#SustLdrConv will enable the transfer of innovative leadership

#SustLdrConv will support leaders in using social media for effective business engagement and future co-creation.

Background Reading:

A Low Carbon Diet For Construction Boards

Why the Sustainability Leadership Pipeline Begins with Women 

Are tweetchats the new digital benchmarking

Andrea, (@AndreaLearned) based in Seattle USA, is an author and communications strategist with a deep background in marketing to women (her book: Don’t Think Pink), but an even deeper passion for forwarding sustainability thought leadership.

She leverages social media to build “face to face” relationships between and among the field’s big thinkers – nurturing partnerships, developing content and spreading sustainability wisdom through every channel. Andrea’s personal interest in the built environment arises from her belief that it is the one unifying topic from which almost any business can see the case for sustainability.

Martin, (@fairsnape) based In Lancashire UK, is a business improvement advocate and consultant, founder of Fairsnape. As a built environment strategist he is committed to enabling success within and across organisations with a focus on sustainability, collaboration and social media. He is a Living Building Challenge Ambassador and partner with Green Vision, facilitating web-enabled events and #GVisChat tweet-chats for a green built environment.

(This blogpost  also appears on Andrea’s blog and elsewhere)

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Sustainable futures require collective power of unconventional partnerships

mandelbrot

Early today I came across this excellent quote* from Hannah Jones, Nike’s global head of sustainability and innovation:

“We believe that the innovations required to create the future won’t come from a single source. Not from science. Not from technology. Not from governments. Not from business. But from all of us. We must harness the collective power of unconventional partnerships to dramatically redefine the way we thrive in the future.”

Just the thinking and attitude we need for a ‘sustainable’ built environment, based on unconventional collaborative working, driving our conversations towards a future that is sustainable on economic, social and environmental value levels. In the way we operate, address our impacts and importantly in the products and services we deliver.

*Quote contained in the Guardian Sust Biz article Can systems experts create scale and speed in sustainability?

Have we picked the low hanging fruit of Sustainable Construction?

low hanging fruitThe mid 90’s saw my first involvement with sustainable construction, as Business Improvement Manager, setting up strategy and awareness programmes for Mowlem Construction, driven it should be noted to address client bid requirements in PFI and Prime Contracting.

At that time Brundtland’s definition from 1987 was fresh and it made good sense to include it in strategies and as a definition.

In hindsight, one of the problems of this approach is that it reinforced the thinking of that time, that environmental management, and by default sustainable construction belonged firmly and squarely within the Health and Safety departments.  A misconception that many organisations still subscribe to, or struggle to move away from.

But, since then, sustainability thinking has moved on from environmental management as H&S add on, to a wider view of sustainability that includes social and business responsibility, ethical procurement and localism and is now heading for a challenging future greener and deeper agenda

It is encouraging to note the move away from what I have referred to as ‘accommodationalist‘ thinking – ie doing only what we are required to do by law, no more no less. In fact this  thinking is now being challenged by the Governments red tape initiative, proposing to remove certain sustainability related legislation

Over the last 7 years I have been supporting organisations map out and chart progress on their ‘Route to Zero‘, identifying actions necessary today, tomorrow and most likely into the future. We may be in the position of being able to say we have picked off the low hanging fruit from the sustainability tree.

Most construction companies now have a sustainability policy and project approaches that are ISO 14001 accredited, to deal with better management of waste,  recording transport construction miles, employing locally and so on.

But now the real work begins, reaching higher into the greener, more dense canopies of the tree, with a new, emerging set of challenging actions that will take us closer to our zero impact ambitions.

Amongst these new challenges we can see:

  • Collaborative and circular economy thinking. For example what if every building improved with age, improved in its function, its resilience, its performance.  Became more ‘durable‘?  Contracts would not only need to cover the design and construction of buildings, but a new form of collaboration between provider and user that included continuous improvement criteria.  Such Circular Economy thinking would force new collaborations across the supply chain, across discipline and with clients.
  • Convergence of data, information rich ICT environments, an Internet of Things linked to metering sensors that will provide real time feedback on performance of the buildings and of the construction process, driving improved and sustainable resource utilisation. Getting us closer to zero waste and  zero carbon emissions.
  • Responsible specification and procurement, that is not only local but considers ethical and most importantly the health impact of building product ingredients. (see the Healthy Product Declaration Standard)
  • Challenging standards, that bring new deep green philosophies and certifications for buildings and facilities, as we see with the Living Building Challenge
  • The inclusion of costing nature within construction projects. ‘Cheap’ buildings may only be cheap because the real social, environmental costs have been externalised for someone else, often society and the public purse to deal with. Time to bring those externalised costs back into the project costs?
  • A mindful built environment sector, or one that has mindfulness, ie ‘in the moment’ awareness of the impact the design, the construction, the maintenance, use and deconstruction of the building will have upon the environment and nature. Mindfulness is a huge and complex topic but an important sustainability concept we will hear far much more of in 2013.

The first Green Vision tweetchat for 2013 will explore some of these issues on the 28th January at 8pm using the hashtag #GVisChat, asking the question are we getting closer to ‘Zero’?

If you would like to know more on how the Fairsnape Route to Zero mapping and charting programme can help your business, please do make contact

Update – Presentation on this theme 

Innovation Voucher Provision

mb-m-and-c-1-blueThe Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is making Innovation Vouchers available worth up to £5000 for construction and built environment companies. Applications are due to open on the 10th of December and close on the 23rd of January 2013.

Fairsnape in association with IBE-Partnership is delighted to assist you  in preparing and submitting your application for Innovation Vouchers in the following topics that we offer as your innovation provider to improve your construction performance.

  1. Social Media – Awareness, Getting Started, Developing, Strategy and Policies, Measuring,
  2. CSR – Awareness, Developing Strategies, Integrating and aligning systems, Measuring.
  3. Sustainability (1) – Awareness, Strategy, Policies, Aligning / writing systems, Measuring
  4. Sustainability(2) – (Beyond Waste) – Awareness, circular economy, cradle to cradle thinking, healthy products innovation, measurement,
  5. Construction Carbon – Awareness, Strategies, Measuring and Improving, Application of wold class tools
  6. Benchmarking – (Beyond KPI’s) – Awareness, Strategy, Benchmarking Project, Measuring, Application of world class tools
  7. Business Strategy – (EFQM) Awareness, Improving overall and holistic strategy, facilitation, measurement
  8. Collaborative Planning / Last Planner – Awareness, Strategies, Training, Guidance, Facilitation, Application of world class tools
  9. Lean Construction Techniques – Awareness, Strategies, Training, Guidance, Facilitation, Application of world class tools
  10. Collaborative Working – Awareness, Strategy, Principles, Training, Facilitation, Preparation for BIM
  11. BIM – Awareness, Strategy, Policies, Preparation Plan, Facilitation,
  12. Customer Management– Awareness, Strategies, Training, Guidance, Facilitation, Application of world class tools
  13.  ISO14001 – Awareness, Strategy + Policies, Improving/Writing EM system + process, training, readiness for assessment
  14. ISO90001 – Awareness, Strategy + Policies, Improving/Writing QM, training, readiness for assessment system + process
  15. PAS 2030 – Awareness, Strategy + Policies, Improving/Writing Green Deal system + process, training, readiness for assessment
  16. Bidding – Awareness, Strategy, Process/Approach, Support,

mb-m-and-c-1-blueThis is a great opportunity for you to innovate and improve your effectiveness and efficiency, improve attractiveness to clients  and of course improve the bottom line at no cost to you. If you are interested in progressing further please call or get in touch to discuss.

00 44 7776 234702

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BIM: More than just an information model

Last month I was delighted to present and explore ‘BIM, Building Information Modelling’ with Yorkshire CIBSE members.

I wanted to reinforce a few BIM issues, in particular that

  • BIM is just not about buildings – but facilities
  • BIM is about collaborating and continues the collaborative working journey started way back in Building Down Barriers, Rethinking Construction and others since.
  • BIM needs people collaborating to be a success

and that BIM is more than just an information model.

Here is Simon Owens, (@CalibreSimon excellent commentary from the evening:

The evening started with an introduction from Jim Marner of the B&ES expressing the belief that there is something of a “genetic  flaw” that leads the industry to perpetuate problems, 80% of which he believes could be resolved at pre-contract stage and mainly relate to design and procurement. Jim went on to say that he sees BIM as being an opportunity to create a new model leading to more projects being completed with a greater level of success than previously.

Having laid the foundations for the discussion to follow Paul gave an overview and then went on to talk about the challenge of the 2016 BIM target and how SES had embraced it to prepare for that deadline and gain advantage. What they have found is that for advantage to be realised, general understanding of BIM, cost of implementation and construction industry methodology would need to be addressed.

Paul discussed how poor models would be of limited value and that issues regarding the transfer of data between Architects, Modellers and other disciplines can hinder the cornerstone of BIM; that of being able to use information more than once and smooth out procurement processes.

Lee then discussed the technology side of BIM within SES and how they use AutoCAD as a basic package with Revit for Stage E moving on to AutoDesk Fabrication (formerly FABMep+ and CADmep+ as separate packages, now merged), their own system to quantify costs before NavisWorks for 3D visualization, clash detection, coordination, presentations and bringing models in from other packages.

The idea is that core information comes in at one end and is progressed through the system until the final result is produced and he demonstrated the value of using information more than once by extracting design data for a module and importing it in to their cost system. He then showed how the system could provide a list of the constituent parts, costs and labour for that module. While very impressive, Lee was keen to point out that to reach the stage of being able to make it look that easy had taken several years and many hours of development.

Paul raised the following discussion points as part of his rounding off:
– The industry appears keen to embrace BIM and its expected benefits, but there are still factors holding it back such as knowledge and questions of achieving return on investment.
– Who are the BIM Heroes and where are they coming from?
– Whether the industry as a whole is ready for the necessary culture change as opposed to merely buying the appropriate packages/technology.
– There are still inefficiencies within project procurement which BIM may not be able to fully help address.

As a final statement he talked about the need to blur the boundaries between the various stages of building and the different parties involved to achieve the necessary degree of collaborative working needed for all to benefit.

This final statement led very nicely on to Martin’s presentation Copy of Martins presentation here where he started with a definition of BIM as follows:

“The total and virtual modelling of all aspects of a facility prior to construction, during construction and in use.”

Martin stressed the word facility as he believes that clients do not commission buildings, but places which have to fulfil a purpose. He then compared the 13 month build period of the Empire State Building at the rate of 1 story a day with a maximum of 3400 people on site and one contractor with Ropemaker Place which took 3 years, had a maximum of 500 people on site and 140 contractors. What happened to progression? Complexity of building, process and organisational complexity as well as inefficient production were given as reasons; things that Jim referred to at the start, that SES has been developing BIM to minimise and something which Martin believes can be avoided through collaboration.

The origins of BIM go further back than most people think with its roots being in “Building Down Barriers” (pre-dating Egan) and Richard Saxon’s “Be Valuable”, a book he recommends reading. Richard Saxon is now the UK Governments BIM Ambassador who has introduced regional people to promote BIM at a more local level.

Martin asked whether technology was ruling the roost, or enabling the process; the clear thing is, he stated, if BIM is to lead to a 20% cost reduction by 2016, but is costing the industry more now, it is going in the wrong direction and only has a short while to make up ground, a concern of Paul’s when there are just over 3 years to go.

Taking communication as the root issue of many problems Martin described how email was used as a “splatter gun” while an effective BIM process will see all information relating to a scheme in a central point, ordered and accessible to all involved.

This is indeed a step change for the industry and he feels that the education system is teaching students about the old way; failing to show their students about the culture that the industry is adopting for the future.

So how to move forward?
– Get all parties involved, especially the smaller players
– Be comfortable with paperless sharing
– Be comfortable using social media sharing and its place in BIM

To make the point Martin likened taking social media away from young people to telling the previous generation that they waste too much time talking on their mobile ‘phone.

As a partial answer to where are the BIM heroes, he suggested that they are the people who are using Minecraft, Second Life etc. to design virtual worlds could well be those people given suitable understanding of construction.

With his presentation drawing to a close Martin talked briefly about Honda how “everything they do, goes in to everything they do” and the development of their culture, mind set and working practices to eliminate waste.

As a final comment, Martin highlighted the thought that we’ve tried solving the problem with technology, found it didn’t work and needed to go back to collaboration and then design the technology to facilitate that.

For further thoughts there is a Tweetchat about BIM using #TBim as a hashtag on the 29th Nov at 8pm – for details about what one is click here

There is also the thinkBIM network which holds regular meetings and discussions around BIM and its development. For further information visit:

http://ckehub.org/thinkbim

It is also worth looking out for BIM Storms click here for details

Please do get in touch by email, twitter (@fairsnape) or leave a comment below if you wish to discuss any of the BIM issues raised here.

BIM Survey – More Contractors than Architects using #BIM

 

A recent, still to be published survey shows some very interesting BIM usage stats:

 

  • The percentage of companies using BIM  is now 71%, which is a jump when comparing previous statistics, with 17% in 2007 and 49% in 2009.
  • More contractors (74%) are using BIM than architects (70%) for the first time.
  • 49% of BIM users have five or more years experience using it.
  • Almost 40% of BIM users are heavily committed to using BIM, doing over 60% of their work in BIM.

This new research conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction shows that there is a rapid increase of Building Information Modeling (BIM) usage by architects, engineers, contractors and owners in, you may have guessed –  North America.

But for us here in the UK, I find this interesting:

  • With increased use, will BIM prove to be more attractive, and deliver more benefits to contractors than architects?
  • With our current push on BIM with the 2016 target for level 2 BIM, could we see usage in the UK at a similar 71% level?
  • By time we do get to 2016, we will have a good stock of experience of BIM users, ie those adopting BIM or BIM approaches now!
  • As we move more to documentation systems and working in collaborative spaces, working predominantly within BIM’s could be the way we will work within AEC sector in the very near future

Building Down Green Deal Barriers

Themes covered in the Cumbria Green Deal workshop yesterday, both within round table groups and in general discussions were strikingly familiar, being the age old improvement issues that the construction and built environment sector has been trying to address for the last few decades.

It is encouraging that Green Deal is raising these themes with a new audience, and reinforces the point that Green Deal is another important improvement step on route to construction excellence. However, it is also a reminder that Green Deal may be doomed to failure it its just another sticking plaster applied over our industry core problems

So, forgetting for a moment the mechanics of Green Deal, what are the underlying themes …

Collaborative Working – the need to work together, across supply chains and in consortia is emerging as a pre-requisite for Green Deal.  The six principles of Collaboartive Working, (Compete on Value, Relationships, Integrated Working, Collaborative Cost Management, Continuous Improvement and People Development), first developed under the Building Down Barriers are very appropriate to Green Deal today.

Added Value and Lean Construction – the need to reduce costs whilst improving value. The need to be lean across the Green Deal process. The first Lean Management principle of identifying and stripping waste out is key to effective Green Deal delivery

Open and Transparent Costing – essential to get back to real costs, adopting new and radical approaches to pricing and dealing with risks, and the need to eradicate competition by profit / lowest cost.

Communications – across Green Deal players, with customers and consumers to the way in which we market and promote ourselves.

With the main root of construction problems being related to communication issues, effective approaches to Green Deal communication is vital

Sustainability and CSR – from technical sustainability of how to improve performance of hard to treat properties, to green skill development, to procuring local and appropriate resourcing all get a good outing in Green Deal discussions

Value Management – the need to evaluate between differing Green Deal Plan options, products and quotes across a differing range of criteria (cost, life cycle, replacement, appearance, performance etc) will benefit from robust value management approaches.

Quality Management – our industry SME resistance to adopting processes and certification that applied correctly will improve quality and consistency, reduce errors, reworking and costs, but importantly offer confidence to clients now shifts from ISO 9001 to PAS 2030.

Automation – will automating processes without loosing face to face relationships usher in a world of iPads, social media and improved streamlining of routine / back of house processes?

What will Green Deal do for your organisation?

Related:

On this blog:  Where Greendeal will succeed …

See Su Butcher’s Just Practising blog and comments to What will the Green Deal do for us?

Building Down Barriers Supply Chain Handbook