All Change

On Thursday 22 November 2013, Microsoft confirmed that they had sold over one million Xbox One consoles within its first 24 hours of launch.

On Friday 23 November 2013, I walked past my local Blockbuster video store and saw it had been completely closed and emptied.


Both Microsoft and Blockbuster were after the same market – providing movies and games to the world. One recognised the digital age early, innovated and invested wisely – and won. The other lost.



The digital revolution has already taken place in other industries such movies, gaming, photography and music. In the construction industry we are now seeing this digital revolution happen. At NBS, through our National BIM Survey, each year we see the statistics backing this up as the construction industry adopts Building Information Modelling methodology. At our NBS Live conference last week in London, the Chief Construction Advisor Peter Hansford spoke about how the UK Government 2025 construction strategy would be implemented through the ‘Digital Built Britain’ initiative. This digital revolution will give us lower costs (by 33%), faster delivery (by 50%), lower emissions (by 50%) and improvement in exports (by 50%).


The pace of change in construction has been slow when compared to other industries. In the 1980s and 1990s we moved from typewriters and drawing boards to spreadsheets and CAD software. Now in the 2010s, with BIM we are moving to a collaborative process where geometric and non-geometric well-structured data is digitally developed through the construction time-line.


With respect to change, the question: ‘Is adopting new ways of working easier for large organisations or smaller organisations?’, is often asked. Larger organisations have the bigger budgets, but smaller organisations have the ability to be more agile and can make change happen quicker.


In my team at NBS we have a “labs” sub-team that look at research and development for a delivery time beyond the immediate 12 months. A particular phrase I like is “an organisation’s ability to succeed is not through its size, but through its ability to see the future”.



Microsoft saw the future. Blockbuster did not.


Dr Stephen Hamil – Director of Design and Innovation at NBS – December 2013