skip to Main Content
Velocity Of Business

Velocity of Business

Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 128).

Firms have access to the same talent, hardware and software yet some flourish and some fail, Why?

I am pondering this question following a discussion I had with a property design graduate. He is three years post grad, digitally biased and has worked at four different firms, from intern to graduate. 

Each firm was experiencing different levels of success and this was reflected in the employee experience. His question, why the management chaos and disparity in performance and adoption of technology? Good question!
IMHO graduates are the “canary’s in the coal mine”. Thier experiences matter as they are the future of any business. The good news is they are not shy about speaking to power and asking my favourite question, why?

If you want to find out what employees really think about your firm just go to When people can give feedback without fear, the truth will out!

My answer is that leadership and adoption of technology from top to bottom are what make the difference between success and failure. Ultimately this leads to either a culture of success or fumbling along.

IMHO, all issues come back to leadership and firms that struggle, fail to cope with the velocity of business in 2017.

Lets take a quick professional services business velocity time tour:


  • Business by letters and phone – innovation – electronic typewriters & telex & photocopiers
  • Building design by slide rule and manual drawings – innovation – hand held calculators 
  • Velocity, dictated by post office ability to deliver mail


  • Business by letters, telex and phone – innovation – fax displaces telex, e-mail emerges late 1980’s
  • Building design by calculator and manual drawings – innovation – desk top computers and CAD emerge in late 1980’s 
  • Velocity, reduced to speed of fax


  • Business by letters, e-mail and phone – innovation – e-mail and mobile phones become ubiquitous 
  • Building design by CAD – innovation – Faster and more powerful CAD
  • Velocity, reduced to speed of e-mail


  • Business by e-mail and phone – innovation -smart phones become ubiquitous, employees “always on call” 
  • Building design by CAD – innovation – 3D CAD & CAM
  • Velocity, within the hour, due to smart phones


  • Business online by software – innovation – e-comerce with always on clients and consumers
  • Building design by CAD – innovation – BIM which will be extended from design concept to construciton supply chain to FM 
  • Velocity, immediate  If your firm cannot cope with this velocity, it is doomed to fail. 


So there have been amazing advances in technology and response times. The market has shifted to reward speed and brains. It is a winner takes all market where only well led, high technology talent succeeds. It all comes down to the ability to read future trends, adopt technology and inspire employees.

I can see a class system where where digitally biased firms that invest in technology and talent win and the rest have a miserable existence of mediocre performance, high staff turnover and perpetually angry clients.

To generalize unfairly, in property design I think there is a 2000’s mind set and in construction a 1990’s mind set. If a firm’s leadership have a 1990’s mind set, then good luck with that.

My prediction for the 2020’s? Firms that collect, manage and analyze building performance and occupant data will vertically integrate and dominate. Also all firms and clients will be using block chain, IMHO.

The facts, the future and your clients do not care about your feelings. The future belongs to firms and people that can adapt rapidly. 

What to do?

Firms: Invest in people and technology.

Individuals: Embrace BIM, data analysis and building modelling tools.

Twitter: @BLDWhisperer

Edifice Complex Podcast
Podcast on YouTube:
Podcast on Facebook:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top