It’s not usually possible to force a cultural change, you can’t just declare that data is now a central part of your organisation. Culture is defined by an organisation’s collective actions and behaviours. But, cultures do constantly change and evolve.
When looking to embed a data-centric culture, look for many small changes together with education on the benefits of BIM. Cultural change will require constant reinforcement of ideas before ideas become widespread and habitual. You can do this by establishing advocates for data and BIM throughout your organisation who will work with you to spread the culture of data.
At BIMsense we have worked with organisations from medium-sized contractors through to the largest universities in the UK, and have witnessed successful data-centric cultural changes.
It’s really useful to have peer endorsement of the ideas and methods that you are trying to spread. But, don’t worry about changing everybody. You will never be able to introduce something new that everyone will buy into, just accept that. Not everyone will “get” an organisation’s culture. Aim to reach a tipping point where you have enough advocates and enough momentum for cultural change to actively happen. People tend to like to fit within social groups. As they adopt the dominant behaviours of an organisation, these become the expected behaviours that define the culture.
There will always be those individuals who will jump on board for a new idea, these are often referred to as innovators. I’m guessing that you are probably an innovator. Innovators won’t need to see the evidence of positive outcomes from something new, such as data within models. They are excited by new ideas, excited by the potential benefits and will want to be involved in driving new ideas forward. You should initially target this type of person, they will become your fellow BIM advocates.
The next group of people are the early adopters. They will need to see some evidence of the benefits of BIM. They will need to know the answers to questions such as what can it actually do, what benefits will provide and what the costs are. But, armed with the evidence, early adopters will want to use BIM for the benefits that it provides.
Once your innovators and early adopters are using and benefiting from BIM, the late adopters within your organisation will get on board. Many late adopters will have been sceptical about BIM, and will have found it difficult to understand how BIM could provide benefits. But, as the number of BIM advocates within your organisation increases, the evidence of the benefits will also increase. This raises social pressure to change, bringing a fear of missing out. Change will require effort and at the beginning, especially for the late adopters, the learning curve will appear too steep. As soon as your late adopters start embracing BIM, the cultural norms for making data a central requirement will have been set. Your organisation will have gone through a digital transformation.
Finally, you have your laggards. There will always be some people who won’t understand why BIM and data are important. Perhaps they won’t see the benefits of change, or their existing habits are too deeply embedded. Whatever the reason, just accept that you won’t be able to change everyone.