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Sharing: People Will Use Our Stuff - #SocialBIM Episode 8

To work collaboratively in a building information modelling (BIM) environment, we need to get better at sharing stuff. Many people worry about sharing their work because of what other people might do with it. It’s a common fear that can affect architects, cost consultants and product manufacturers to name but a few disciplines. 

In Episode 8 of our #SocialBIM series, Social Strategist Su Butcher explores our fear of sharing and the damaging affect it can have on how we do business today.

Manufacturers are a good place to start. They play a key role in the BIM process, creating the products and therefore most of the data in our buildings. But many are wary of surrendering their intellectual property in a BIM environment. “They seem to fear sharing product data because they think it puts them at a commercial disadvantage” says Su.

“The fact is that sharing information is absolutely essential to doing business today. If you want people to specify your products, you have to make the information freely available to them. If you don’t they’ll just go somewhere else and then you really will be at a commercial disadvantage”.

"Sharing information is absolutely essential to doing business today"

Across almost every other discipline, the rules of the game are changing too, largely as a result of external influences. The days of working in silos and relying on reputation to secure business are fading. Today’s leading organisations compete on the open information economy by making powerful contributions to it. “The benefit of sharing is visibility” explains Su. “If you’re not in the model, you can’t play the game”.

Of course giving information away for free needs to have its pay-backs. Google’s business model is built around the immensely useful tools they have developed and offered for free. With such a vast user-base comes considerable advertisement revenue and powerful data analysis. For manufacturers, the pay-back will be more people specifiying their products because they can access accurate data about them, exactly when they need it.

"The benefit of sharing is visibility. If you’re not in the model, you can’t play the game”.

Episode 8 marks the culmination of a second season in our #SocialBIM programming. Commenting on the series, The B1M’s Co-Founder Fred Mills said: “These videos with Su have really drilled down into the issues hindering collaborative working in construction. There are lots of home truths that I am sure many viewers can relate to. We need to tackle these issues head-on if we’re ever going to work successfully in a BIM environment – this series is a great conversation starter”.

The other episodes in this series are available here:

Episode 5 – Collaborative Working for BIM
Episode 6 – Conversations: People Will Talk
Episode 7 – Mistakes: People Will Find Us Out

Alternatively you can catch-up on all the previous episodes in #SocialBIM (including 1-4) in this playlist. Talk to Su directly @SuButcher or visit her at

Su Butcher on set with a subliminal message.

Su is a volunteer on the UK Government-initiated “BIM for Manufacturers and Manufacturing” working group (abbreviated to BIM4M2) which helps construction manufacturers get involved in the process of BIM. You can learn more about them here

This video was kindly sponsored by 4Projects. Find out more about them here.

Filmed at Herman Miller National Design Centre, London. Our thanks to Ming Cheng and David Meerman Scott for the use of their tweets.

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