Old DWG, New BIM?

CAD at the Venetian Resort

Autodesk is again hosting its annual Autodesk University (AU) event at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. It's still pretty early, so things haven't yet geared up. The developer must have sympathy for those of us who travel a distance to get here and thus are still reeling from jetlag -- the keynote speech from CEO Carl Bass is not slated to start until around

10 am! Most similar venues have attendees getting up around 7 am.

Anyway, I absolutely love the Venetian Resort, especially the fake "Venice" that comprises a series of fancy shops and resturants, a real canal full of real water, and gondoliers dressed in the traditional red and white striped shirts. Some of my collegues hate Las Vegas because it is so sleazy. I don't gamble but I love the neon lights and the glitter. But you can sense a heart of darkness: I've been told that there are shops where desperate gamblers can pawn their cars, recreational vehicles, and even home mortgages.

Old DWG, New BIM

At the registration area is a large board that attendees can use to post their idea on how to get a more sustainable

world. Ideas: Share our vehicles, Go local; Turn off the lights; Build digitally; Use solar wind and energy. And -- my favorite -- "Old .DWG, new BIM." BIM is a big buzz in architectural circles lately. It stands for Building Information Modeling and is said to be a term that was coined by Autodesk to mean "3D, object-oriented, AEC-specific CAD." Of course, DWG is the traditional drawing format. Can you teach an old DWG new tricks, er, that is to be a BIM?

Ideas on Innovation

Tom Kelly, co-founder of design company IDEO spoke at this morning's keynote session. He says, design is not superficial, it is strategic. It creates value. It can make the difference between love and hate. If you wanna' innovate, you have to design. Now you have to out-innovate the rest of the world. It is like the Red Queen effect from Alice in Wonderland. We are running, but we are not getting anywhere. So you have to run twice as fast. What if we are first, or perhaps the best? IDEO designs: From the Apple mouse to helping the Red Cross redesign the experience of donating blood.

What works in innovation and what doesn't? His book: The Ten Faces of Innovation. Learn from other people's failures. His mistake: The human brain can handle only 7 bits of information at a time. So don't talk about the 10 top faces.... talk about the 2:

Designs used to be driven by specifications and technical challenges. The Anthropologist would go to lakes and streams and come and tell us about it. This is a source of innovation. The act of discover is in seeing with new eyes. In the process of developing expertise, most designers start filtering out new experiences. Vuga de -- the opposite of deja vu. Start to ask questions differently. For example, Oral B wanted to innovate around kid's toothbrushes. IDEO started with anthropology -- every toothbrush in the world had the implicit assumption that kids' toothbrushes should be a small version of their parents. Kids actually hold toothbrushes differently and needed big, squishy toothbrushes. Had best selling toothbrush in the world for 18 months until others caught up.

Next is the Experience Architect. He thinks about the total experience the customer has. Good book -- The Experience Economy.

For example making a birthday cake:

Commodity way -- Mom goes out and buys stuff to make a birthday cake. Cheap, but a lot of work and a lot of risk.

Product way -- Betty Crocker makes the batter. More expensive, but saves a lot of time.

Service level -- Go to a bakery and buy a ready-made cake that squirts the kid's name on it. No risk. Expensive

Chuckie Cheeses -- Terrible in many ways except you can be a hero for your kids that day if you pay big bucks for a Chuckie Cheese party. Parents are willing to pay almost anything. No risk.

How to get an idea: Find an opportunity hidden in plain sight. For instance, the Westin Hotel and its Heavenly Bed. No one else had thought to design around the businessmen who flies in late, goes to bed and goes to work early (not around the spa and pool crowd).

Use simplicity as a tool. The simpler as the better. Aspire to the "wet-nap interface" of moist towelettes. Just tear open and use.

New trends to check out -- "algorithimic design," and biomimicry

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