As we near the end of 2020, I felt it was crucial as a business owner, an advocate for digital, and the chair of Women in BIM who was (previously) on a plane every five minutes to reflect on the last 12 months and give our readers some insight into my predictions for the year 2021. 

We all know it’s been a hell of a tough year: a struggle for some, a joy for others, but generally it’s been very, very hard! We have seen tremendous opportunity, but also tremendous change in the type of work we deliver and how we deliver it. We feel that this will ultimately impact our future and what we will offer as a consultancy. 

There are many industry experts who foresee the impact of digital and plan around it to impact their business profitability. Those companies, generally with hundreds of people, scrambling to work intelligently are all very much flourishing in the work they do and the information they deliver. This does not only apply to our industry in construction. We feel that there are enormous opportunities for all companies to digitise across all sectors. As a digital consultancy, we are here to help.

My work bleeds across many different areas, from BIM managing projects to authoring BIM training material, to developing digital strategy and skills frameworks and all of these types of projects that are wonderfully exciting. We see these opportunities continuing for us well into 2021 and, although much of our work will evolve, we still think that these existing types of projects will continue. 

As much as many projects slowed down, organisations still seemed to invest (not heavily, admittedly, but invest all the same) in training of some sort. In supporting businesses with key skills we have seen that although the projects have been smaller and more focused on particular topics, the investment in training will help to set these companies up for the next few years. 

With all of this in mind, I have listed here my top five predictions for the global construction industry on a BIM / Digital front. Hopefully these will help you to understand and potentially invest in people and projects to support the profitability of your business. 

  1. Support your people and empower them.
    2020 has seen that people can work remotely, can manage their time on their own and can be efficient. For too many years there has been reluctance to give employees their own purpose and their own power. People thrive when they are given these opportunities to flourish and as a result of this past year I don’t believe that people will work the way they used to.
  2. Invest in R&D.
    Yes, digital processes, products, software, etc. is developing fast, but too few companies have resources focused on supporting how businesses are strategically affected by these changes. Those companies who do invest here and implement strategy around digital futures will see great benefits in 2021 and beyond. 
  3. Look outside your region.
    One thing I have learnt this year is that when you step outside of the world you live and work in, you see things very differently. In order to globally trade it is crucial to examine the markets outside of your own, to support growth in regions which don’t have the skills and education to deliver. Working across multiple regions will help companies stay on their toes and grow in ways they do not expect. 
  4. Be diverse.
    Don’t just say you are diverse by adopting some form of diversity policy across your business, proactively engage in diversity. Host events, employ people and engage in industry groups who are there to support the positive nature of an industry. Diversity promotes collaboration, it supports creativity, and it helps us to build knowledge and skills in a way that we will need in future. 

My main aim is to leave some form of legacy behind, to be remembered for making change, and positive benefits to those you live and work with. We all have families we love, and having work we love too will not only help us to live longer and thrive more positively in a changing world, but ultimately grow ourselves and our businesses in positive ways.

by Rebecca De Cicco