Transitions in construction

Transitions in construction

Whatever you thought, think again.

Scrap the report

ReflectionsPosted by Dan Engström Sun, June 10, 2012 23:59:04

We’re on to something here. Images. Moving pictures. Let’s say I want to tell you about a new development in virtual reality that we’ve come up with. I could tell you about it. Or I could show you a film clip of what the technology can do, say … eh .. this one. Go ahead, check it out. It’s only twelve seconds long. Your paatience can deal with that.

Right. Have you seen it? That little clip is more likely to get you more interested in the technology involved than me sending you a pdf by email, am I right? It would be even better if you had the chance to fiddle about with it on your own. That’s why they’ve made an app for the iPhone,, thast’s why it’s free and that’s why it’s amazingly easy to use. By the way, the name of the app is ”Action Movie FX”. Apparently, even my old idols Marillion are using it.

I’ll switch to being a consumer. Bear with me. By now we’re basically hooked to this thing. We want to check it out. We want to make a car smash into us or an Indiana Jones-sized rock land in our back yard, and upload it to Youtube. The people behind the technology will get the most out of this effort if they hand it to us and let us try it. We don’t need the full version, we just need to be able to play around, and get kudos from our peers for the cool clips we make. I ahve become a prosumer; a consumer and producer in one. The people behind the technology no longer need to come up with the coolest clips, we’ll all do that for them. And this little app made it happen.

It’s working too. The Internet is full of people making these little clips and commenting on them. People probably are buying more special effects (power outage, jet crash, you name it) as you read this.

But. And this is the brilliant part.

As it turns out, the main aim of this app is not to sell the full version. The app is there for one reason, and one reason only: to build up market pull for the film Mission: Impossible 4. Ghost Protocol, released in December 2011. We get to play around with special effects – childhood dreams stuff –and even get egoboo from it. At the same time, the app connects the film to the pleasure the app gave us. So, the film becomes a good force in our universe. Better go see it. Better buy the DVD. And the mug.

It’s working.

Now back to construction research and development. As in-house researchers, we too have technology we want to share with our colleagues. We too have innovations that could change people’s way of working. What do we do? We send emails with pdf documents in the feeble hope that they will get downloaded, printed, collected, read and acted upon.

I see you waving at the back. You have a comment. Yes? No, that’s correct, our technology does nothing as fancy as blowing dogs up. That’s just because we do not think along those lines. Because they could. Maybe not blow dogs up, but connect the market and our offer through technology that makes our clients feel good. Let’s say we provide technology so users can build 3D-models from our product line and paste on to a real view, so that they can see their future housing options through the smartphone where in real life there is only a field. They should be able to upload that view as a clip to youtube.

That kind of thing. You get the general idea. But we usually (usually, mind you) don’t do that because it costs money. Our little group decided to do it anyway. We are learning from project to project how we can communicate our findings in a more attractive way. We have started to use webcasts to complement the written report. These clips capture the main ideas. There is always the report if you’re interested later.

Here are a few examples. They’re in Swedish because our stakeholders prefer it that way.

· Demo on modelling reinforcement in 3D

· Final results from our project on cost effective housing plans

· Reference group meeting presentation in the above project

· The results from a PhD thesis on how clients receive innovations

All our presentations are licensed creative commons, as are images and music. Feel free to use in any way you like. I know they are not really interactive. We’re learning as we go here, OK? Far to go still, but we're definitely on to something.

One last example. A friend of mine was a key player in the development of a robot for 6-axes material testing. This machine tests small specimen of any material, in any combination of stresses, dynamic or static, automatically. An awesome machine. In order to create interest in materials research groups, all they need to do is show this. Though I dare say, with a machine that can dance, the clip really should have had a musical soundtrack.

So scrap the report as primary carrier of information. Who needs words when they could get a rocket launcher.

Images, Flickr Creative Commons: Action movie by Horia Varlan and Camera Obscura by tonyhall.