Yesterday I attended the AECNetwork‘s networking meeting at the Building Centre in London (where I helped to broadcast the event via Ustream to people unable to get to the event themselves, and contributed to the event’s Twitter-stream).
For me, the gathering was notable as it was the first time I had actually met some people with whom I have been in regular contact via Twitter – fellow AEC social media practitioners like Su Butcher and Gemma Went, for example. And, as is the nature of such networking events, I also met interesting people with little or no previous experience of social media, but who were interested in its potential.
Tim Hall from TotalFlow, for instance, told me about his role in helping businesses develop products for the construction market, and I mentioned my interest in how one product lifecycle management company (PTC) was advocating using social media during product development (see ExtranetEvolution.com blog post). This morning I have just been reading a Cadalyst article by PTC’s Tom Shoemaker that looks at ways in which social product development could be used. He goes on to suggest that the tools are on the way to becoming indispensible, first, because they tap into the ‘wisdom of crowds’ and, second, because Generation Y are likely to adopt them as part of their normal way of working:
In a competitive environment, anything that ultimately proves itself to be useful will have a long life and will find myriad uses. Thus, product-development companies that embrace social computing as part of a complete, robust, and standard technology platform are likely to achieve substantial benefits by better accessing the community’s collective knowledge and by accessing valuable information that otherwise would have been undiscovered.
At the same time, the younger, emerging workforce, which is already proficient with social computing tools, will be more likely to go even further in exploring their potential application for product development.
I am hoping that the application of social media in developing construction products might be something that is discussed at future Be2camp events. If anyone has any examples of actually doing this, please let me know.