Why I started future:distributed

Published by Will Needham on

In this article, I make the case for starting this blog. And for starting a new direction for my life. I describe the problem that I’m trying to solve and hence, the value you can hopefully obtain from following along. Finally, I talk about how you can help me on my journey. This is the start of an exciting journey… subscribe below:

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First things first: I am hugely passionate about our built environment. How we add to it, how we manage it. It has a profound and noticeable impact on how people live their lives. But as anyone remotely close to the industry knows, this task of ‘adding to it’ (i.e. construction) and managing it is complex.

It’s difficult and I would argue that as humans, we haven’t yet got really good at it. If you disagree with the previous statement, I would love to hear about what you are working on 😉.

The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.

William Gibson

It was this quote that sparked that light bulb moment for me and helped me shape the idea for this project. With the technological advances we have experienced in the last decade, I believe the tools and knowledge is already out there, somewhere in the world. We just need to go find it and put it together in interesting ways.

This is the mission of future:distributed. Born out of curiosity, in a way. I became obsessed with how other countries were tackling the same issues my colleagues and I were faced with on a daily basis. Were they even having similar frustrations? Or had they completely automated what I was trying to achieve?

Global issues require global thinking

It’s not just those little implementation frustrations that I hope to address through future:distributed though. As a planet, we are under intense pressure to change how we ‘exist’. Solutions to these pressure points are well described by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

UN Sustainable Development Goals: 17 Goals to Transform our World

To make meaningful progress on any of these goals will required deep collaboration between the brightest minds, wherever they happen to live in the world. I hope futuredistributed.org can help facilitate this collaboration.

How will this happen?

To achieve this, I am speaking with exceptional AEC professionals. I am documenting their experiences and how they tackle common industry challenges. I will be comparing and contrasting their methods, tools, strategy, policy, design and much, much more.

I hope that in doing so, vital lessons can be learnt and applied by you, the reader. Ideas that truly make you stop and think ‘wow, I never really thought about it in that way before’. If I can produce content that achieves this, I will be happy. I believe it’s out there, I just need to find it.

Life is an experiment

As a data scientist (scroll right down to the bottom footer to see an overview of my background, or check my LinkedIn here) , I tend to adopt a hypothesis-driven to most things I do in life.

I like to create a hypothesis, then test it. If it doesn’t work out, well…at least I tried and I’ll likely have a better idea of what to change to improve.

In starting this project, these are the hypotheses I will look to test:

  1. I can learn something of value from every person and place I visit.
  2. These lessons will be useful and translatable for AEC professionals around the world. For example, I think a Quantity Surveyor (QS) in London would find it really valuable to learn about how a QS in Sweden does their job, and what one could learn from the other.
  3. By delivering content in innovative and engaging ways, I will attract new and diverse talent to the industry. Something we so desperately need.

I will be reviewing progress against these hypotheses at regular intervals throughout the project.

How to contribute?

This section is for you, if you’re reading this and thinking:

Yeh, great… but what do you want from me?

Anon Amazing Reader (you!)

There’s a few things you can do to really help me out, don’t worry… all of them are FREE!

  • SUBSCRIBE! Anywhere within the future:distributed website, look at the top toolbar or scroll right to bottom of the page to find a sign-up box. You will get high-quality, valuable content and tips from around the world to help you do your job better. Or just to open up your eyes to new ways of doing it. It’s never spam.
  • FOLLOW! I’ll be posting daily on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. So like, connect, subscribe and to let me know your following, feel free to send me a message! I always reply.
  • SHARE! The most valuable thing you can do is share the content if you think other people will find it valuable.
  • INTRODUCE ME! Know anyone I should definitely feature on the blog? I love meeting new people and will go out of my way to meet up with them if you thing they have a great story to tell. Know anyone exceptional in Scandinavia? Introduce me! Check out this post on who I am looking for.

Thank you for reaching all the way to the end. I’m really excited to get going and bring you along with me on every step of the journey. Any feedback is greatly appreciated through the Contact Me section.

Categories: Welcome

Will Needham

I believe in a future built environment that is safe, sustainable, healthy, efficient & productive. Actually, I believe pockets of excellence in each of these things already exist; they are just distributed geographically in different parts of the world. My mission is to go out there and find these pockets of excellence and tell the stories of the people, projects, policies that are responsible for such positive steps.

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