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Jason Grant: CONTEMPLATING WHAT MAKES A TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATOR

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    Jason Grant: CONTEMPLATING WHAT MAKES A TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATOR

    At RTC in Huntington Beach, CA, I was approached by another blogger who asked me what makes me different from others and how did I get to my level of expertise. I did not have a great response for him at the time since I had not contemplated it before but the question has stuck with me for over a month since the conference.
    The best answer to this question came to me as I was observing my 7 year old son playing on the iPad and computer. He has no preconceived notion of how software should work and he learns by experimenting. He doesn't even understand all the words on the buttons/controls and never reads the directions. He learns by poking the buttons to get the result he desires. He asks questions about user interfaces and has a deeper knowledge of usability than many programmers without even knowing it. Frustrated with some games he will draw his own interface on paper, describes to me how this would be better and wonders why he cannot just create the game he designed digitally. He is not hindered by the knowledge of how things have been done for the last five, ten or more years. He will find ways of using software that it may or may not be intended for. If ever given the opportunity, I would like him to sit down with someone from the factory and see what he thinks of Revit. Perhaps all software companies should consult children from time to time. I think it could provide some interesting insights.
    Factory: This is the stair tool and this is how you use it.
    Son: Why?
    Factory: Because people need stairs in their projects
    Son: I don't understand it... it doesn't make sense...
    Factory: It would if you were an Architect
    Son: I don't think so... its broken
    So, what did I learn from this and how would I answer the question in the future? I learned that my approach to software is much like a child but with the additional knowledge of business and constraints. I never look at a new tool or new software with the thought "how is this meant to work" but with the thought "how can this be used best in my workflow even if it is not intended for this task". I don't fear making a mistake, pushing the limit too far or breaking the software since there is always a way to step back and redirect back to the original process. If exploring new possibilities improves each project just a little then it was a successful endeavor. Do this enough and you may just reinvent your workflow and process.
    In the future when asked, "What makes you different?" I would respond:
    I try to think like a child when approaching software to remove the inhibitions and preconceived workflows that a software or tool is designed to do so that I can open my mind to new possibilities. Then I use my knowledge of business, the industry and research to find ways of integrating the discoveries into our workflows to better the process. Only by removing the constraints can I see the possibilities.
    If you could set aside what is possible today and think about what the future could hold even if there is not software or hardware to support the process, what would be the future of our practice? This is one of my passions and I hope to discover new trends and be of the forefront of change. BIM is only the beginning...


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