On the surface I feel like it is business as usual in the construction and engineering industry. Like a polluting ferryboat travelling full speed ahead towards the storm while no one on the bridge as the courage to turn the ship around. Meanwhile, beneath the surface, I see numerous individuals and groups swimming the other way. Each finding ways to build and engineer differently. How can these mutineers gather enough critical mass to form a viable fleet to take us to safety? I have three words: act, advise, advocate.
Acting is carrying on doing what you do. Whether you are developing a new design approach, or using a new material. Whether you are experimenting with new ways to challenge assumptions or finding new ways to eliminate waste from construction. I see the biggest threat to a lot of challenger projects is just keeping on going. The existing paradigm has so much momentum that it is often an achievement just to carry on swimming the other way.
Advise is training others to swim like you. I see this as building capacity and starting to leave your own wake. Share your knowledge with other like-minded mutineers so that you can act together. Share your knowledge with people on the ferryboat so that they might join you, or at least start talking to other people about there being a different way. It’s creating videos about what you do. Or training colleagues in your approach.
Finally, advocate is making the case for your alternative direction. It is going back onboard the main ship and saying, look, we’ve got a different plan. It is talking at industry events, it is advocating for other people’s work too that is helping us chart a new path.
When it feels like you are going in the opposite direction to the mainstream, it can feel lonely and futile. Act, advise and advocate and I believe other people will join you.