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What Spock Taught Us About BIM

Spock was the BIM manager of the Starship Enterprise, says Susan Brattberg, founder of Global eTraining (GeT) and board member of CanBIM Council of Canada.

On the Enterprise Spock acted as the BIM manager. Look at the groups interacting: command, navigation, security, science, tactical and weapons, environmental, engineering, and operations. Sounds a lot like BIM: architecture, engineering, civil, MEP, construction, building maintenance…

Your BIM execution will never be flawless, just like a Starfleet mission, so have a logical plan for dealing with the inevitable bumps in the road.

Here is an officer’s guide for BIM

Rule 1: Know more

“Insufficient facts always invite danger.”

The more you know in the beginning, and the more you plan, the more time, money and resources you save throughout the project.

Rule 2: Stay calm, remain logical

“If there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them.”

When you begin the vision of a project, you are already considering the price and sourcing of the materials, the energy consumption, and even the exact workforce needed from beginning to end.

As a BIM manager, you must maintain calm and order. Stamp out the old way of doing things or the inefficiencies of two very different ways of thinking will be catastrophic to the mission.

Keep in mind the adoption curve to new technologies. Get training. With just-in-time training and the attitude of lifelong learning people will not just use the tool that they happen to know or happen to have installed – they will look at the big picture and use the right tool in the right way for each mission.

Rule 3: Mind meld different viewpoints

“To expect sense from two mentalities of such extreme viewpoints is not logical.”

Rather than the inefficiencies of each group of stakeholders communicating directly, BIM pushes all the communications to one central repository.

“Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them.”

We need to remember, BIM needs the human element more than ever. BIM is 10% technology and 90% sociology. Communication methods that might be foreign to new initiates to BIM must be learned. The foundation of BIM is sharing information with all parties, making detailed notes, and constructively making adjustments to plans.

BIM covers a lot of ground and often engineering feels like its logic needs to come first. Every project starts with the human element and ends with one. Communications, negotiating different viewpoints, all of these soft skills will be very new for some people. Help get them the tools they need by offering training.

The foundation of GeT is that learning fails because not all learning styles are covered. Some people are visual, auditory, read/write, or kinesthetic; most are a unique blend of the four (VARK). Thinking styles are very similar. Internal to GeT we use the Gregorc Style Delineator. Blockages may seem small, but when blown out exponentially using BIM, they need to be addressed so that later in the life cycle of a project you don’t need a triple bypass.

Rule 4: Plan, plan, plan

“When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

To eliminate the impossible, the crazy, the mistakes, and missteps you need to plan, plan, plan; that is the only way to the best possible outcome or the truth, for all you BIM Managers.

Mr Spock: Has it occurred to you that there is a certain… inefficiency in constantly questioning me on things you’ve already made up your mind about?

Captain Kirk: It gives me emotional security.

Your company has methodologies, templates, and best practices…make sure your BIM does as well. But also question them. With templates, BIM actually works more efficiently than even the ideal version of BIM – this is because a lot of that duplicate work gets done once and never again.

Rule 5: Simplicity

“One can begin to reshape the landscape with a single flower.”

BIM need not be complicated. Even a simple spreadsheet can be a useful in BIM. And even if you believe you have great BIM skills and ways of doing things, ask yourself often about how you can simplify, clarify, and streamline your process. Your BIM should be unique to you, your firm, and your project.

In The Wrath of Khan, Spock says: “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

And Captain Kirk answers: “Or the one.”

We need to remember we’re all in this BIM ship together. Learn faster. Retain more. Save time.

About Global eTraining

Global eTraining has almost 30 years of experience in developing and delivering exceptional computer-based learning. Over the last two years, our world-leading technical training platform, learning methodology and educational products have received Brandon Hall Excellence in Technology and Learning Awards, Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) CoDIE Awards, as well as the Canadian Society for Training and Development’s 2014 ‘WOW!’ Award for new technology.

We are a strategic training partner to some of the world’s largest and most diverse multinational design, construction and software organizations, government bodies and Fortune 500 companies, and the global leader in developing and designing training for the 21st Century. More about Global eTraining at

For further information about Global eTraining, contact us.