Managing the Information Supply Chain for Design

Early in my architectural career the senior technical architect advised me, “don’t draw what you don’t know.”    It was at this moment that I realized that design is less about instinct and experience as it is about being the outcome of a deep and diverse information supply chain that guides everything from the siting of a building through to the most elemental detail.  Furthermore, it is the effective management of this information supply chain that is crucial to the delivery of great design with the lowest risk and resources possible. 

In traditional design the information supply chain is sourced from subject-matter experts such as land surveyors, geotechnical engineers, building programmers, and more.   Exchanged information comes in the form of document sets and large format drawings for the designer to rationalize and synthesize into a design.   Complicating matters is that this is typically a very slow process.  These grand documents take weeks or months to develop leaving the designer to either wait or design “speculatively” until the authoritative information becomes available.   This sometimes leads to significant amounts of work being abandoned when the objective truth does not align with the speculation.  

Unlike these traditional processes, the adoption of digital and other emerging technologies has accelerated the velocity of information exchange.   With these digital tools the designer can work with relevant information sooner and in greater quantity.   3D lidar scans create detailed records of as-built conditions.  Data from NASA shuttle missions and other resources deliver accurate-enough topographical data from all points on the globe.   Community insights from GIS data can replace the need for a demographer and a web-hosted survey can crowdsource and deliver droves of tacit information to inform the design.  

With digital tools used collaboratively a designer can also work in a “co-creative” environment.    Whether it is in person with the client or a community group or with experts on an internet hosted platform like those provided by Autodesk and Bentley the use of the collaborative environments provides for iteration and validation of design options at a high rate of speed.   

With this increased velocity also comes increased volume in the information supply chain.  Digital tools enable information exchanges to shift from bi-weekly events to daily or even hourly occurrences.  This elevates complexity and risk and thereby makes the need for information management very important.  It is these conditions that make the need for project information management paramount to track and authenticate every data file informing a project.   

At Concert we have developed a tool to take on this challenge of managing the project information supply chain.    With drag and drop functionality and integrations with your favorite software (soon) Concert brings a high level of intelligence to all project files that allows a team to trust that they are always working with authentic and current information.  We invite you to learn more about Concert and explore how our unique use of blockchain technology makes this all happen.