Out of Time

By Tim Dufault

Concert CRO

“the separation between past, present, and future has only the importance of an admittedly tenacious illusion” Albert Einstein, shortly before his death

This excerpt from a letter Albert Einstein wrote to the sister of a close family friend after her brother passed, is often used as a quote on the physics of time. However, the context of the quote was focused on consoling the family on the loss of their brother. It is also important to understand that Einstein was also close to his own death, something he already knew was likely. In this context, this illusion is tied to the emotional, human understanding of time. Einstein understood this and this emotional, human understanding of time is critical to much of the decision making that happens in business today.

In today’s business landscape, reactions to change tend to be emotional. While we all ascribe to “data driven decision making”, the reality is many business decisions are still driven by emotional reactions to mechanisms in place and the desire to minimize the amount we must change them. However, disruption in business doesn’t have an emotional connection to time. Disruption takes advantage of that emotional connection by leveraging the blind spot of most business – if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. The reality is, everything in business can be broken and not broken all at the same time. Good business leaders know when to break what isn’t broken to move beyond the capabilities and limitations of current systems.

The Design world is on the cusp of one of those breaking points – breaking out of traditional mechanisms and ideas about design value while breaking the barriers that impart inefficiencies in the design and construction process. Computing capabilities and systems have advanced to the point where the complex process of creating the built form of a design idea can be seamless. It is time for the design community to catch up to these advancements and abandon the old understandings of value and deliverables. No longer should the time we spend creating a solution be the determinant of value. No longer should we focus on 2D representations of the built form as the primary reliance documents for information sharing. Now is the time to change the value proposition by combining the creative process with the contractual outcomes – the virtual representation of the built form IS the foundation for all the systems and applications that are derived to build it. The value is the virtual form, and all its embedded data.

The architectural world is out of time and if they choose not to change, the disruption will come from outside the industry. Reliance on old systems and processes is no longer valuable. Data is the value. Digital design data has become the currency for the profession, and it is time to capture that value. In the same way that NFT’s are disrupting the art investment world, Digital Design Data can disrupt the world of architecture. We can create architectural NFT’s that grow and evolve in value each time the data is transferred. This progressive NFT takes full advantage of the strength and permanence of the Blockchain to record each transaction and the ownership of the data. This is the disruption we need, and this is what Concert is foundational in creating. 

It is time for the architectural industry to become leaders in the next generation of design value. It is time for the world to embrace the digital nature of design and the embodiment of the data at its core. It is time for architecture to get out of value systems based only on hours spent on a task, not value created by the outcome. Concert is here to help make this transition real, valuable, and simple. Let’s not depend on emotional connections to the past and the way it’s always been done. Take the lead, make it happen, and control the future of value in design. Don’t let disruption break your practice because we are all out of time!