BILT Europe for Business and Strategy

For me, BILT has always been about venturing outside my own comfort zone; to seek out new approaches and perspectives. Some of my most rewarding sessions have been from ones that stray far from my daily professional ventures. I remember a few years ago I sat in on a class on the analysis of a bicycling-stadium; and while the math was intriguing, it was the way the speaker structured his approach that stuck with me. It was a far more stringent and different approach to solving a problem (in this case; how to ensure every visitor has a good view of the course) that I myself would be prone to; but throughout the session, it allowed me to reflect on how my team could approach a totally different and unrelated subject matter differently.

My point is, this was a class aimed at people who design stadiums, and I am a guy who designs solutions around water, very different things, but I could still learn a lot and tingle my creative senses by listening to people from outside my comfort zone.

Ironically, this post will actually be primarily within my comfort zone – as I’ll be highlighting a few sessions that I find interesting from a business strategy and leadership perspective:

  • Keynote – while we officially have not announced the keynote speaker(s) for this year (we will soon!), I can reveal that our keynote speakers this year will continue from last years venture into how the mind works. More specifically, giving us much needed tools to help the brain relax and give ourselves some much needed headspace. For a conference that focuses so much on productivity gains, I find it important that we also learn to reinvest some of those gains into ourselves.
  • Roundtable – Climate Digest, Conor Shaw

Climate and sustainability are one of the most important aspects for my own agenda (in fact, my last opinion piece was strictly on the relationship between BIM practices and environmental impact). I hope that this roundtable will inspire me with new nuances to what we can do as an industry for the better of the planet.

  • Digital Adoption – A User-Experience Perspective, Matt Olsen, Allies & Morrison

This talk is aimed at those responsible for driving digital adoption in their organization. Matt Olsen argues that we must strive to deeply understand our user-base and design processes around their motives, experience and varying levels of technical knowledge. Personally, I sometimes ‘forget’ to get the rest of the organization with me, and I hope Matt’s tale can give me some pointers on how he has worked with getting his organization to embrace his ventures.

  • Creating The Digital Twin Using BIM processes, Patricia Oliveira, INFRAERO

This year will see that we have quite a few classes utilizing the Digital Twin moniker. And this is not my way of starting a debate on what a digital twin is and is not. What I find intriguing though is that the term ‘digital twin’ is being uttered throughout my organization all the way up to the C-level and senior management. The term is used to describe everything from MatLab equations, PowerBI dashboards and LOD100 families. So, I want to pack in a few ‘Digital Twin’ classes under my BILT belt this time, to get more knowledge on how digital twin methodology is actually being applied – because, to me it seems that there is a lot of buzzwords being used out there. So, from Patricia’s class I expect to see some tangible, cross-organizational wizardry that takes digital twins from the fluffy corporate dictionary into actual value-yielding application. (No pressure, Patricia 😉)

  • How To Stay Ahead When Nothing Stays The Same, Joel Martineau, Stantec

Just the title could be a tag-line for my professional challenge the past years! Frontloading transformative processes in my part of the organization, this is very close to my mind – again a class where I look for perspectives and ‘oh yeah – that’s another way to approach it’ insights. See The interview we did with him on his session below:

  • Making it Rain: Achieving, Measuring and Presenting ROI, Kelly Cone, Clearedge3D

I’ve often said that its very easy to get like minded people to agree on a ‘good thing’ that ‘the company must invest in’. But guess what, your senior stakeholders do not necessarily see it the same way; thus the need to get tangible in pitching your return on investment can become critical. Way too often I’ve seen ‘good ideas’ not reach the next stage of investment, because the actual return was not presented in a clear and sensible way. It’s an increasingly requested topic from BILT’ers and I trust Kelly Cone to deliver a thrilling and practical talk that can help everyone in the room articulate the value of their ideas and ventures.

  • Managing Material Exchange, Lets Kickstart the Circular Economy in BI, Maarten Van Den Berg, INFRANEA

This one hits straight up on my ‘There Is No Planet B’ agenda. The need for reuse of materials and building components is greater than ever. I am very curious as to how Maarten Van Den Berg will address this. Also, I am actually a bit skeptical whenever someone mentions ‘circular economy’; as I’ve seen it as a moniker for way to many intangible initiatives in the past. But Maarten’s abstract tells me this one is going to be tangible and exciting – based on multiple case studies that will show the data structure for material passport generation in building and infrastructure projects. I hope to be able to pass some of these ideas to my colleagues back home working on circular initiatives.

  • The Future of Teaching Things, Dan Chasteen & David Sewell, Perkins + Will

I’m sure you are also constantly being exposed to new tools and processes – but find yourself thinking, is it worth investing my time in learning something new that could make life easier? Maybe you are faced with resistance from your teams in onboarding new methodologies? I certainly know I am. So, this class looks like a perfect fit for me. Dan and David from Perkins + Will promises to show a proven strategy for packaging knowledge in both an accessible and easy-to-grasp format that they claim enables project teams to utilize digital tools at a higher level – count me in!

The above 8 classes are just a snapshot of the more than 100 great sessions being presented at this year’s BILT Europe 2019 – what classes are you looking forward to and why. Let us know of your favorite Social Media outlet! 😊

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