Innovate or Die

It’s a statement that gets thrown around every once in-awhile and was perhaps more in vogue historically than in current memory. Interestingly enough it comes from the title of a book “Innovate or Die : A Personal Perspective on the Art of Innovation” by Dr. Jack Matson; almost ten years earlier there was another book “Grow or Die” by George Land. Was the second influenced by the first; perhaps Land was a C-level business consultant putting forward a hypothesis around the nature of all things, organic, humanity, commerce being linked intrinsically around basic rules related to growth. You either grow, or die. Whereas Matson’s thesis was fail quickly and fail often as a means to be successful. Most interesting, Matson is an engineer by training, how many engineers do you know that go around preaching to their employees “we should fail on figuring out how to make this building stand-up”.

I’m being a bit facetious of course, arguably we fail every day as part of the process of designing a building or at least architects do, and I think the most successful engineers take a similar iterative approach. It’s far better for us to fail “on paper” than in the real world and undoubtedly Matson knew that when he wrote his book. We even try our hardest to fail in the real world before full construction by way of mock-ups, physical and now more and more virtual, with virtual reality gear and everything.

Obviously (if you’ve been reading any of our blog posts) you know by now that DTS’ theme this year is innovation and I think we’ve put together some really great topics to anchor our discussions (see our site for a full agenda). If we are by our nature innovative in our profession, that is attempting to fail until we find the right solution, what does that mean to us, to technology? Are we guaranteed to evolve? Are there consequences if we do not? Are there consequences for not being broadly innovative, so for example being “innovative” in how a project is designed, but failing to be innovative about the process that results in the design. Must you have both to be successful long term or can the innovation only happen in the results of practice and not the practice itself?

Practice itself is an interesting term unto itself, we “practice architecture” (or engineering, or law, or medicine) does the etymology itself imply Matson’s title? If we are always practicing, then do we ever compete, do we ever finish the race and what does that imply or mean in the context of innovation?

Are you scratching your head yet? If you are, then you belong with us at DTS in Toronto! We have a few spots left and we’d love to fill them. Please consider applying to attend through our registration process, if you’re keen to think hard and talk about what all this means and more then you belong with our group!

So what are we talking about?…

Valid question! For a variety of reasons the committee did not finalize our agenda until just recently and we do apologize for that. We’ve discussed quite a bit in our blog posts sense January about the ideas of Innovation and why we think it really is an important discussion topic, but it is also quite nuanced and, in order for us to have useful discussions about “Innovation” then we really need to make sure we’re focused!

So, what will our focus be? Glad you asked, here are our program highlights; once again totaling nearly ten hours of discussion in a day in half!

  • Welcome to Innovation! What is it (really)? – An opportunity to discuss what innovation is to each of us and, hopefully, come to consensus on how we define it for Design Technology.
  • What are they doing…? – A look at innovations in other industries and how we could apply or learn from them.
  • Ghosts of Innovations Past & the Future – What innovations have we seen in the past and how can we use that recognition to anticipate the future?
  • Technology & Innovation: In a relationship or just friends? – Design Technology and the platforms we have available to us have both advanced significantly and perhaps not at all. In any case we can “do” a lot more than we could a decade ago so why aren’t we happy? What do we need to innovate or where is Innovation required?
  • What should we be doing to help shape the future of our practice? – We’ve spent nearly a day discussing innovation in our industry, its past, its present and possible future; what does all of that potentially mean to people like “us” i.e. Design Technologist’s. What is/will our role be in the future as technology changes/ improves.

If you’re picking up on a Dicken’s theme, you’re not mistaken, in our discussions over the last six months and looking at research done by others I think it’s clear that in order to look to the future we do need to understand the past, in addition we must understand our place relative to innovation, technology and what we mean by those terms in the first place.

We still have a few seats left (call it ten) and we’d love to fill them. If you think innovation is important to the progress of Architecture & Engineering then you should join us! Attendees of BILT will receive a Multi-event discount.

Are you a technology company working in the AEC sphere? Trying to attract attention? Want to show your support of Design Technologists and how important it is for us to have a forum for open and honest communication, then talk to us about sponsorship opportunities, we have something for every level.

Regardless, need help? We’re only an e-mail away at secretary AT rtcevents DoT com

See you at DTS & BILT NA

Innovation + Plus One?

If we operate from the perspective that “true” innovation is something that is new “in the world” and has a significant impact, then it’s fair to say that most of us as individuals are not likely to reach what is a very high bar. That is just the realist in me talking, I’m not suggesting we should sulk away, giving up on any hope of being creative or coming up something new. Holding that goal in our eye is only likely to make us more successful rather than less (in my opinion). So, if alone we are not likely to meet that rather high bar, what are we to do (by the way, someone will, and if you don’t try, it won’t be you)? One of the first things we can do is look at organizations or people who have met that bar, and perhaps even seek their opinions and thoughts. Continue reading “Innovation + Plus One?”

DTS New Year, New Faces, New Changes

Happy New Year! I don’t know about you but it certainly feels like 2016 flew by! It’s hard to believe that it was nearly six months ago that we were in sunny “mildly warm” Scottsdale! This means of course that DTS 2017 is only about six months away in humid (and likely warm) Toronto (if you think that by going north of the border you are going to escape summer heat, think again, Toronto can get pretty warm and muggy in the summer thanks to that giant lake next to it).

So, what’s new and happening with the Design Technology Summit you ask? Continue reading “DTS New Year, New Faces, New Changes”

The 411 on DTS Registrations!

Can you believe registration for RTC’s North American events is just around the corner! Phil recently blogged about some of the challenges surrounding the registration process for North America due to its popularity and number of unique events all occurring in just a single week!

To that end I wanted to reinforce that you will be able to register for DTS and RTC at the same time this year, as well as make your accommodation booking at once; however, because DTS is invite only, your registration for the DTS portion will only be approved if you are already on the DTS list.

Want to be on the DTS list, because you belong? Contact secretary@rtcevents.com.

Has your e-mail changed or have you changed jobs, but still belong at DTS? Please contact secretary@rtcevents.com.

As we have mentioned in prior blog posts we want to use DTS 2016 to focus on strategic conversations about topics that are relevant to you, Design Technology Leaders. The event site includes our current agenda and some information on our planned topics and goals. Our committee members have been writing blog posts on topics that we believe could engender some provocative, useful and interesting conversation:

We look forward to seeing you at DTS! Registering early will give you a voice in shaping the exact topics to be discussed. Remember our attendance is capped, so please sign-up in advance!