Wake up and seize the Unicorn!

With the conference now done and dusted, I can honestly say it has been an amazing event and also wonderful to see the growth and change in BILT Europe that I have seen develop over the last couple of years (which we couldn’t do without each and every one of you). In 2017, we focused on ‘Beyond Automation’; we saw that materialize into high quality streams filled with tangible ways to leverage powerful automation tools and processes across disciplines. In 2018 we focused on the ‘Death of traditional silos and the birth of an interdisciplinary industry’. and we offered a program full of stories from those who had broken down the silo’s that confined them. To us, 2019, was where it all came full-circle; where we took what we learnt from these two themes and realized that we are nearing a critical tipping point, not just in our industry, but as a result of larger trends that most think are out of our sphere of influence.

We live and breathe in a world, where we are under constant bombardment; be it the subtle buzzing of our smartphones, the social media feed chiming in for another like, the news stations telling us of a political turmoil and conflict zones, the workplace asking the unsolvable to be solved – and preferably yesterday.

I realized that many of you find yourself on a constant uphill climb with no summit in sight. During conversations with fellow peers it was clear to me that this gargantuan and unspoken burden needed to be addressed at BILT Europe.

Over recent years, we in the organizing committee, have witnessed you bring forward amazing innovations, the BILT program has been filled with classes from the lighthouses of our industry on smarter ways to work, to pathways to improve revenue and keep the firm competitive, all of which have been shared openly. But, it was ironic that we have preached more efficient ways to work, to drive value up and down the value stream, but not reinvest some of that newfound efficiency into ourselves – and maybe we needed a few simple tools to get started down the right path.

To break the ice, I chose to spend part of my opening address sharing my experience succumbing to stress a few years ago, but also how this warm and embracing community was instrumental to me getting back in the game. For all its worth, I’ve never met a more open-minded group of talented individuals than I have at BILT; while we come from all sorts of backgrounds and work on a substantially diverse field of topics, we are all fueled by a burning desire to do better, not just for our careers and own basic needs, but to leave the world in a better state than it was yesterday. But back to the simple tools, I am humbled by the positive feedback on our keynote speakers, psychiatrists Vibeke Lunding-Gregersen and Henrik Tingleff from Mindwork who taught us about compassion and how our brain works and how we need to get away from it being overworked.

As a delegate put it ‘I went to a tech conference and learned about the brain. Not what I expected, but I’m grateful for it’. I did not reveal to that person that we would be doing yoga in the day two plenary!

I know I’m repeating myself, but seeing over 400 colleagues from around the world trusting their learning experience to a series of days, the team and I put together in our spare time, is so rewarding (spiritually – not financially – we are not-for-profit after all 😉).

That (and a bunch of unicorns who had infiltrated my slide deck) became the kickoff to the largest BILT Europe ever – and that’s both in terms of attendees – but also in terms of speakers and classes. With more than 80 speakers and 90 classes we really did raise the bar; and this allowed us to give room for really niche, but really cool sessions to complement the more mainstream ones (from the outside we would still be perceived as niche, but geeks are the new cool – right 😉 )

In the following sessions we dived deep into a very wide range of topics; that clearly testaments that BILT covers both the niché but really practical topics like how to improve your family design through mathematics and how to use custom dynamo script usage tracking nodes for vizualisation in PowerBI to broad case studies like the Edinburgh St. James and Hannover Square. Actually, this would be a good time to check out our top sessions and special mentions 😊

I heard from so many of you that you experienced classes that broadened your horizons, challenged your ways, and inspired you to try new things. I saw friendships being forged at our amazing social functions (to all the kilt bearers at our Gala Dinner – did you manage to get your complete outfit on in less than 15 minutes?). What I saw was a family reunion of epic proportions – and it gives me hope that we can change the world for the better. But I implore you, do take care of yourself, remember to stop and breathe – and reach out to your BILT family for both the joyful – but also difficult conversations we have in our professional lives.

In the team, we have begun our preparations for next year’s family reunion in Valencia. I promise the weather will be better –and I look so much forward to putting together the best program in BIM history.

See you all soon 😊

Marcus Fich

Regional Chairman

BILT & Digital Built Environment Institute.

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