Sept. 29, 2021

The Lean Tech Problem in Construction with Nathan Wood

What do you recommend for people who resist new construction technology, innovation, lean construction, or combinations of these tools and principles as problems? Nathan C. Wood knows that projects don't have one size fits all solutions or approaches. He...

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What do you recommend for people who resist new construction technology, innovation, lean construction, or combinations of these tools and principles as problems? Nathan C. Wood knows that projects don't have one size fits all solutions or approaches. He has worked on hundreds of projects across the US, Europe, and the Middle East. Nathan founded SpectrumAEC with a clear goal — solving the human barriers to new processes and technology adoption.

Nathan is an innovation influencer across the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry. Nathan’s experience with Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), Lean process improvement, and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) has led him to realize how even proven technology solutions can often result in adoption failure and lost ROI. As Executive Director of the Construction Progress Coalition, Nathan blends his passion for open collaboration with real-world skepticism to produce a pragmatic strategy digital standards adoption in design and construction. When not fighting for open standards, Nathan also supports the people and process transformation as Chief Enabling Officer of SpectrumAEC. Nathan continues to support industry progress through speaking engagements, research publications, and workshop facilitation.


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Today’s episode is sponsored by Bosch RefinemySite. It’s a cloud-based construction platform. Bosch uses Lean principles to enable your entire team, from owners to trade contractors – to plan, communicate, document, and execute in real-time. It’s the digital tool that supports the Last Planner System® process and puts it all together in one simple, collaborative ecosystem. Bosch RefinemySite empowers your team, builds trust, creates a culture of responsibility, and enhances communication. Learn more and Try for free at 


Today’s episode is sponsored by Construction Accelerator. This online learning system for teams and individuals offers short, in-depth videos on numerous Lean topics for Builders and Designers to discuss and implement, just like on this podcast. This is tangible knowledge at your fingertips in the field, in the office, or at home. Support your Lean learning at your own pace. Learn more at 


Today's episode is also sponsored by the Lean Construction Institute (LCI). This non-profit organization operates as a catalyst to transform the industry through Lean project delivery using an operating system centered on a common language, fundamental principles, and basic practices. Learn more at 


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Nathan Wood  0:00  
Hence the dilemma was lean. Right? It's like there are those that yeah, Want to take one side of it that doesn't want to take the other and the answers always somewhere right in the middle. Right?

Felipe Engineer  0:08  
The answer is both. Take both sides.

Nathan Wood  0:10  
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Man. Yeah, it's been been really fun to watch all the growth that EBFC has and all the all the international listenership too.

Felipe Engineer  0:22  
And what you're doing too. Like this show is good. This is about you, man. It's not the me…

Nathan Wood  0:27  
No, but But no, I love you because you validate everything I've been trying to make up as I go along. And you've provided Yeah, some real world words and real real structure to it. So it's cool.

Felipe Engineer  0:37  
You're doing some good work. just invite me some more. And I'll keep showing up when I can.

Nathan Wood  0:41  
Yeah, one of the topics maybe we'll talk about is a new term I learned and then Nemawashi. Oh, yeah, I love that. I figured you would have come across at some point, but I had never learned none of it before. And the more was explained to me, I was like, Oh, yeah, that sounds like you know, the three workshops that I do. And a lot of the, you know, this CBA stuff is essentially, you know, a form of like, are we actually in the right place before we go, and the CDs as we get to the technology, and the interoperability stuff is really all kind of different forms of this nema lashay that we just keep fighting further upstream, right as contractors like if we could just get in there earlier, we can do so much more.

Felipe Engineer  1:19  
Welcome to the EBFC show, the easier better for construction podcast. I'm your host Felipe Engineer-Manriquez. This show is all about the business of construction. Today's episode is sponsored by…

Sponsors  1:32  
Boshrefinemysite is a cloud based construction collaboration platform that applies Lean principles to enable your entire team to plan, communicate and execute in real time. It's the digital tool that works in tandem with your last planner system process and puts it all together in one simple, collaborative ecosystem. This easy to use platform is available in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and French and can be used on desktops, tablet and mobile devices. According to Spencer Easton, scheduling manager at Oakland construction, “Refinemysite, in my opinion, is the best cleanest tool on the market,” here's what our users have to say. We've looked at three other digital scheduling platforms and none compared to the straightforward approach refined my site takes from milestone planning all the way down to daily tasks. This program gives every general contractor and their trade partners meaningful collaboration, accountability and KPIs. Registered today to try refined my site for free for 60 days. Today's episode is sponsored by construction accelerator, the design and construction industries come up with and build great things. But we also build in waste in how we do those things, in our interactions in our contracts in our logistics. So what does this do for our bottom line, or our next project, the best firms maximize their value by removing that waste, and only doing what's essential for the work what makes them money. Construction accelerator will train you to see the waste and give your teams the lean tools and experience to remove it immediately. All online. Construction accelerator is made up of three to nine minute videos that can be watched again and again, in the field, at the office and at home. All broken down by topic. need to learn pull planning, we have videos on the process, how to set up a room and how to kick off a team need to set up a target value delivery project. We discuss all the aspects of TVD especially cost. Or maybe you just need to brush up on five as well. We have videos on that as well. You can download and print reference materials to use on site to immediately translate watching into doing subscribe today at tri ca Let's build an industry, not just a project.

Felipe Engineer  4:01  
Today's show is also sponsored by the lean construction Institute. LCI is working to lead the building industry and transforming its practices and culture. Its vision is to create a healthy and thriving industry that delivers outstanding project outcomes every time for everyone. Check the show notes for more information. Now to the show. Welcome to the show, Nathan would talk about a conversation that's just been in the making for too long, a technology focused conversation. Welcome, Nathan.

Nathan Wood  4:32  
I hope I don't disappoint you. I don't know how much we're gonna end up talking about technology. But that's okay. We'll see where we go.

Felipe Engineer  4:38  
We'll see where we go. I think it's inevitable. I mean, we're both number one, same microphone. It's different colors. So I mean, that's something.

Nathan Wood  4:47  
We’re definitely nerds and some effect. Yeah, we're AV nerds, that's for sure.

Felipe Engineer  4:51  
Absolutely. And we both have the good sense to put on headphones to limit echo.

Nathan Wood  4:57  
Yeah, if Chad Pearson's out there, here He knows this that he is such an amazing thought leader and speaker, but damn it get a better microphone. It's amazing how like, you know, one little thing when weakest link can just ruin an amazing conversation. Hopefully mine's coming in loud and clear.

Felipe Engineer  5:16  
Yeah, it's got a great sound awesome. Yeah, I just want to go ahead and introduce yourself to the audience, and let people know who you are and where they can go.

Nathan Wood  5:24  
My name is Nathan Wood, I sort of split two roles as executive director of construction progress coalition, as well as I do consulting through spectrum ADC and my Lean journey and career journey began with DPR construction coming out of school at University of Texas Longhorns, as a civil engineer, and went to DPR, in the Bay Area, was sort of doused in the fire hose, which was IPD and lean and BIM, I was a sort of dedicated BIM and project engineer at the time, and really just seeing the capabilities in sort of that post recession low, where there was so much innovation going on, just because, frankly, things were slow. And was was really at the center of that. And yeah, sort of got got the bug of construction technology, of innovation of lean of kind of really the intersection of all three of those of people process and technology and led me to do work through details corporate innovation team got to visit all the different offices see a ton of different projects that were not IPD understand, you know, that that you can have successful projects that are not IPD, you can have not successful projects that are IPD. And that someone can say, Yeah, right. It's amazing, right that like that, it actually does come down to people. And so that's really what I've kind of founded my career on is is kind of understanding recognizing the nuance the dynamics, the personalities of people, and how important that is to this business and and how impactful that is on processes and standard operating free operating procedures and the technology that we ultimately choose and use. And so the more that we can get ahead of that and start talking about the people and the leadership and the requirements up front, then we'll end up producing better process and choosing better technology. So yes, let's, let's talk about tech, but I'm always gonna kind of bring it back to the people side, because that's where my passion is.

Felipe Engineer  7:16  
No, I love that. Nathan, thank you for that. Great introduction, what you left out, I'll break the news that I've gone to work on three continents. Can you talk a little bit about three different continents you've worked on? And what kind of work led you there?

Nathan Wood  7:30  
Yeah, so again, being on that IPD project, which I'm sure you're familiar with, as an LCA attendee is the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley, you almost sometimes get eye rolls with how often that project was being talked about back in 2000 10s. And I was probably one of the ones guilty of promoting it. But it really, really was such a cool petri dish. And we had people coming from all over the world to visit our project. And I began to realize how special it was the things that we were doing. And so it was a great opportunity. When I joined de pairs, innovation team, a tool, Kenzo Dave, I'm sure you know, a tool gave me this amazing opportunity to spend three months in the Middle East with consolidated contractors, company, CCC, and Zuhair, their CTO out there had me at their Abu Dhabi airport terminal project, this massive, massive, multi billion dollar airport project that I zero airport experience before but plenty of BIM experience. And so it's very interesting to come to a new country, a new type of project and new contracts, new people, but a lot of the same tech and a lot of ultimately the same processes and the same data challenges and seeing how they were able to solve it. And that, frankly, that the solution was a ton of bodies, that they had totally different economics of, they could just throw bodies on counting numbers, counting all these things that we thought was so cool in the US. And the reason we can never do it is we can't afford the bodies that it takes for them to count the way that they count. So I took a lot of that knowledge and took that up to Denmark. So again, through the safety program at Stanford and Martin Fisher, got connected with Mt. Hobart up in Denmark and did some consulting through DPR. Up there. So that was an amazing experience to look at much more design build style projects, but again, the Scandinavian culture, their focus on design, like some of the inefficiencies up there, where essentially you would bid out an entire year's worth of design build between a designer and a contractor, just to choose one design. And the government would pay both teams to go through this entire exercise for a year. And as a GC in the US, I'm like, this is just asinine. Like we would never do this. But again, those are just the constraints of the situation that they were in. And to see, you know, innovation is innovation is innovation. And so how do you understand come into a new scenario, understand what are those variables? Which which levers Can you pull, which ones Can't you pull, and being strategic and being creative about it, I mean, that's what I love to do. And it's been awesome to have those opportunities to be in different parts of the world, see those similarities and be able to see those differences.

Felipe Engineer  9:59  
Now, that's a rare Like, at the airport job you so you can just, that is the one time probably in our career like I haven't had that in my career yet where you can add more people just just been…

Nathan Wood  10:10  
I mean, 15,000 craft on site at any at any given time. And I mean that even just you look at tying rebar, you'd have one person, their only job was to unroll the rebar ties into strips that were 18 inches long and cut them and bind them together so that the next person could take them. Instead it was very much this unskilled craft and how many resorts you had to have because you had unskilled craft. And it was just again, a very different dynamic for what we have in the US and a very different, you know, power system, but yet at the same time, very interesting parallels to a lot of the challenges we face in the US.

Felipe Engineer  10:47  
Yeah, I think it's, it's interesting to note, like even going from the Middle East to Europe, as I hear people talking about stories, and we've been to some conferences overseas, the struggles are real, they're the same. It's the same. If the people struggle, like you mentioned the labor to sophistication or the training is different. You know, there's there is a difference between a well trained labor force and unskilled workers. I mean, there's things that you have to account for. So I think that's, that's awesome. Was there any, any tech in there that you were was new to you? Or were you bringing ideas? How did you interplay with that?

Nathan Wood  11:22  
Well, I mean, I think they start, yeah, the interlocking thing of all of this was was BIM, and and was sort of been being central to 40 schedule and five D cost, and how do we look at the model as this sort of central place where we can plan and estimate and do everything that they're supposed to do a lot, a lot of what folks called digital twin today, you know, has always been, you know, what our vision was of BIM. And so I think that was always that that challenge we're trying to solve was, how do you bring that together? And speaking of different countries, I mean, spending time and doing conferences in the UK, and those that come from the BIM perspective, that's a huge discussion of, Oh, well, the UK has there been level two mandates, and they have these past 1192 standards, and they have all these things, which are virtually copycat and a little bit modified from a lot of stuff that we actually built 10 years plus earlier at Penn State and other places in the US, ironically, but nonetheless, they have a government structure and a public policy that supports why they should do this. And I think so often, we get caught up on and get frustrated as construction technologists on why aren't we moving faster? Why aren't we doing this? And they don't recognize all these inherent barriers that have nothing to do with technology. And they have to do with public policy they have to do with business models, and and then just Yeah, the natural cultural resistance to change. That's probably what they blame 100% of it on. But really, that's just 1/3 of it.

Felipe Engineer  12:48  
Yeah, before we got started, Nathan, I were, we were auditioning about the people part and the change and talking about The L Word. But before we dive back into the L Word, can you tell people what BIM is for those that might not know in the US and definitely 4d?

Nathan Wood  13:05  
Yes, so BIM, building information modeling or model, often confused with Building Information Management, is essentially the 3d representation and aggregation of all the information about a facility throughout its lifecycle. So began, really with the early BIM definitions in 2007. And then and the contents of it that date back to the early 90s. But it is very much kind of the foundational, I almost analogize it to the internet for the construction project. And the same way, so many of these things you can't do without the internet. So many things that we want to do in the construction supply chain, we can't do without BIM, you just don't know it, because it's kind of in the background, it's hidden behind augmented reality, and virtual reality, and AI, and all these fancy buzzwords today, but really BIM is is at the core of it. And so as a 4d, would be if 3d is BIM, 40 would be the schedule, the time component attached to BIM. And then the five D would be both your schedule and your cost, also called model based production planning, or integrated cost and production planning all kinds of four letter acronyms if the three letters weren't enough for you. But I digress.

Felipe Engineer  14:18  
No, that's good. That's good information for people because we've got a broad audience of people different experiences. So think it's good to always pause and just levels.

Nathan Wood  14:25  
And we'll say building smart International, all these definitions and everything to find more information. Building smart international is a great resource. For those standards. The IFC industry foundation classification is an open standard BIM file exchange. And there are again efforts related to standards that exist out there and we oftentimes forget that they do exist, because we're still missing that that motivation component that I'm sure what you're talking about.

Felipe Engineer  14:52  
Yeah, why do we need standards?

Nathan Wood  14:54  
Now what I personally I hate standards, it's it's realizing when we do need Am I? Right? That's right, I guess I do need standards, don't I?

Felipe Engineer  15:05  
I saw I got the chance to get onto your YouTube channel one time, and I saw that you guys had, you'd run a virtual reality meeting in a big room where people were coming into the room, as if they were really coming into the room, we got to put a link that link out there.

Nathan Wood  15:24  
So it's on the YouTube. Yeah, we'll definitely put the link in the show notes he got it's it's definitely one of our most viewed recordings, because the value of those roundtables is really showing up to them that the virtual roundtables that we do with construction progress coalition, but we do put the recordings up because as a educational, nonprofit, yeah, we want to be putting this stuff out there and make sure that people are seeing what's out there. But yeah, it was very cool. Thanks to Jonathan Marsh, who turned us on to That is a great collaboration app. And even since then, they've come up with a new update that what's really cool about it is you can be in a room with say 25 or 50 different people wearing either the Oculus I've got an Oculus to virtual reality behind me or the HoloLens augmented reality. And either one, you can be in a room and move to different places in the room. And depending on how far away you are virtually from this person, is how loud they are. And so it really is as if you're in a room and you can kind of hear the chatter of other people talking, but you don't really hear him because it's quiet, until they move on come up to you. And then it might be like screaming in your ear. So you got to be careful. But it's really cool how they're able to mimic real world experiences through technology, it just every day, it amazes me how fast it's moving.

Felipe Engineer  16:38  
Did you see that accelerating with the pandemic as people shifted to hybrid and, and remote working? Or did it kind of stayed on its trajectory of just increasing exponential adoption?

Nathan Wood  16:49  
I mean, there's absolutely i mean, without a doubt, a pandemic component to that I think hop in hop, I N is one example of a virtual conference platform that really blew up in the age of like, zoom is great, it can do so much. But I've certainly gotten the point where I've broken zoom. And they can only do so much so that it's really opened the world for another platform with larger, larger audiences and doing more interactive things. So yeah, I think whether it's spatial or hopping or any of those, I think the VCs know that that's naturally where the things are going to go. And once it goes there, now it's not really going to go away from it. And so it falls in the same category of zoom and peloton and all the other pandemics I would definitely be betting on that.

Felipe Engineer  17:35  
Yeah, I know, the peloton phenomenon really took off like I've been driving around here in California and seeing like these big peloton, semi trucks just, you know, as they restock and keeping up with the massive demand for people to start working out from home.

Nathan Wood  17:53  
I mean, you're pretty well connected, you got to find out who works within the peloton supply chain that can talk about the breakdown, the breakdown that happened do the root cause and because they recovered really fast on their supply chain issues. And that recovery I'm sure was a huge effort that I have to imagine had some some agile to do with it a little bit of Scrum maybe absolutely.

Felipe Engineer  18:13  
Absolutely has agile to do with the companies that could pivot quickly when things go horribly wrong. Are those two things in common? They believe that things can get better. And then they have some framework that supports that belief. Which takes us back to the old word. Yet the leave word? I think we're talking about. Yeah, just people's resistance to change. And, and even you've been so forward thinking, probably to some people, uncomfortably innovative?

Nathan Wood  18:42  
Is that a great way of putting it? That's a great way of putting it. Yeah, I have a lot of people that will come up to me, you know, three years later, and and like, Man, you know that that crazy conversation we had like, you're really onto something. And I think that I oftentimes have to remind myself and not get too frustrated that I do think you know, multiple years into the future and recognizing that you still have to speak today's language, even though you're thinking and trying to live tomorrow's life. And that yeah, if you're if you're the only one living in that future, you're living alone, and so it's only as good as those that you can bring with you to that new world. So just even getting folks to use things like slack is I certainly have in fact, if you've found a solution, you tell me like what the secret is to getting people to use slack. Like I still email people like it's easier for me. And it's like, that's just it's the unfortunate reality of that path of least resistance, right? Like, as much as I want to, like if you're gonna use it, I'll use it. But if you want email, I'm gonna use email. I'm sorry, I'm not I'm not gonna be the whipping guy.

Felipe Engineer  19:45  
People have no idea like why I'm laughing so hard because Yeah, I know. I really want to know. Yeah, like there's definitely a story behind this that I want to hear. We were We were part of a group of like 25 or 30 different companies come together. We're doing this conference for This nonprofit that I'm that I'm involved in, just took my LinkedIn profile and figure out which one it is people. And someone on the team said, this was like, before the pandemic, so two years before a pandemic, someone said, hey, let's jump on slack instead of emailing each other because we get too much emails. And then the first time people are like, what spike? So most of the people said, What slide? Yep, four people out of 25 knew what slack was when the person had mentioned it. And of the four, two of them had used it. So, so fast forward six months later, four people use slack to make funny comments and have side conversations during meetings, or slack over gifts. It was so much fun, though, because you'd have wheat. So imagine, like we're in this big virtual meeting. And every and like most of the virtual platforms have chat features, right? But there are four people that are chatting in slack in a private little group.

Nathan Wood  21:01  
And they think that no one else sees right, I think that's that's the other like, the irony of all this is that the fact that we do still have contracts, and we have laws that I heard a story from, it doesn't matter who have a project project up in the northwest that decided that they were going to use slack for all of their RFI and submit it kind of like their correspondence with the architect and the GC. And it got to the point where they found a pretty significant design issue. And it was in one of the channels, and the architect didn't like what was in there. So they decided they're just gonna delete the channel that would like solve the problem. We still resort to our old ways of like, Oh, crap, I've got to hide all my mistakes, we're not going to move forward, like these platforms are there to make these things transparent, so that they can be known so that we can address them. But if we're coming into those platforms, inherently, you know, playing the victim or being threatened or having to be defensive, it's going to throw the whole thing off in the beginning. And so it's, again, back to the importance of culture before you do any of these things of like, whether it's teams, whether it's Slack, whether it's email, like what is the appropriate etiquette for whatever you choose as your tool that's, that's gonna work for you, because it's not going to be handwritten mail anymore. Like we're not actually mailing letters, we definitely communicate electronically or digitally in some fashion. Just Which one are you going to do and do people are people on the same page about it?

Felipe Engineer  22:19  
Yeah, that's absolutely true. And people that don't know like, slack has an interesting history. It was actually a failed gaming, start startup. And then they ship they had this good thing about what they developed in their code, very agile code development. In programming. I could tell Nathan, like I i nerd down and I read up on how I built this guy, Roz.

Nathan Wood  22:40  
I listened to a podcast episode. Yeah, it's a great story. I didn't know that story either. Until I listen to that is really interesting. How Yeah, how you can pivot so quickly. And and where folks come from and even you know, one of our members in construction progress coalition rivet, not to be confused with Revit. Definitely me they know they get their name before they knew whoever it was. And long story short. They are. This new term, I pass integration platform as a service is a means that when you want to buy tech, this is the new age of what here's one Have you heard of Zapier. Zapier is yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah. So it's Zapier is an is an integration platform as a service, it's an IPS. It's a platform that is only there to connect platforms you already have. Right? And and so there is no really not much of that for construction there. There are those that do it that the Googles and the apples equivalents of the world that say, yeah, we can integrate with other apps. But usually, it's not a Zapier, like a third party that's connecting it. So I think there's a whole wave of that of ribbon and others that are going to be developing this iPad world that really gives us the freedom to have project Scrum sessions where we define a better RFI to bind it to find a better submittal. And you know, push the button, and that's our workflow. But give us the tools give us that framework to be able to define that and have that be digital like that. That's my future vision. Because I know even still, today, I've got the magnets over my shoulder. I know we need that analog freeform, create creativity to really get that agile sense. But you know, at the point where we can both come up with our data requirements, but also do it in a truly agile way. I think we've actually solved the problem and that's that's what I'm striving towards.

Felipe Engineer  24:24  
No, it's it's a beautiful endeavor that you're on. You're on it you picked on you pick a big enough thing, Nathan, I'm so proud of you. Like number one. You said like where were you like my heart melted?

Nathan Wood  24:35  
And you're actually doing it though I speak to it. Well, you're the one actually practicing it. So kudos to you.

Felipe Engineer  24:42  
Like I realized I told like people asked me like why you always look so busy and I was like, I'm not busy. I focus on what my purposes my my philosophy, that's where I focus and then so I have to do things. I have problems to solve in order to get better at living that philosophy. That's why I'll reach out to things like Zapier and Creed's apps to help in some workflows and, and just to take like, I use an app that helps to do some scheduling. I mean, as we're using an app right now, just to have this conversation, I mean, all these things that I that I do, like if we didn't do it the other way, it'd be tedious. It'd be like a flight to Denver, which I know it's gonna be late. And it's just so busy. Yeah. Your airports incredible, though. 

Nathan Wood  25:26  
But yeah, all the whole, the whole podcast box and everything. And like, I used to carry so much crap when I travel with me. And now it's like, why, let's just do it on zoom and record it here. It's amazing. That is,

Felipe Engineer  25:39  
yeah, it was like an even even people push my limits, like I was with Jason Schroeder was the elevat construction podcast. And we were in Utah, or, yeah, Salt Lake City, Utah airport. And we have like, 20 minutes until the next flight. And he said, Hey, why don't we do a podcast right now? And that's like, Hey, I don't know if that's a good idea. But we did it. And I told him, I said, I'm only doing this just to prove to myself that yes, we can do it. He did it. Got it uploaded it before we took off that type of like cycle of quickness. This just blew me away. And I said, Okay, you can record podcasts in an airport, and totally, absolutely. But were you melted my heart, Nathan, going back? You said, I think really long term into the future, and I'm living myself into the future. Can you talk more about that philosophy? that's never been spoken before? That's a first for the show. Oh, man.

Nathan Wood  26:33  
I think that's the first time I've actually said it that way. So So now you're gonna make make me backtrack and explain what I meant by that. And, you know, I think what probably what I said that I was I was channeling my many of my conversations in the last decade with Sasha Reed, which if you haven't had her on, you definitely need to have Sasha read on from Procore. But I think yeah, there's a great, there's

Felipe Engineer  26:53  
this Sasha Yes. If you're listening side note, Yes, I know. Like, for more, I got to meet Sasha, at a virtual culture Academy with Procore. And I've got just off camera, there's like all kinds of Procore merge, like all over here that you just can't see it, but it's all over. And Sasha is incredible. So like, I agree, you have good taste, and friends, Nathan.

Nathan Wood  27:18  
So this was 2015 artists University in Las Vegas, and I just left EPR and started spectrum AC, and was was talking to Sasha about what I want to do. And the big thought in my head was, he'll with this industry needs, he's construction therapy. And I told her that and like the look on her face of like, Oh, dear God, don't you dare do this. And now today, you know, four or five, who knows? COVID How many years has been, but you know, that that how often that comes up and how often people joke and I think that's, that's actually really true, and really find that that back then, you know, five, six years ago, that would have been completely taboo. But that with everything with mental health with everything, just this the whole, literally our culture of as changed. And so I think it's, it's cool to, to take that step back to look at videos of what you said, you know, five years ago, 10 years ago, and realize that you know what, I'm actually saying the same thing I was back then. It's just with completely different context.

Felipe Engineer  28:20  
Right. And I think, to some degree, like I met Sasha at a so Procore is a technology company for project management. Procore does not sponsor the show, but I went through culture Academy so Concord technology company is teaching construction professionals how to modify, change and improve their culture. Inside the company. It's a it is a series of workshops, and so meetings and there's things that you take away You have to do and they keep in touch with you. But I think the Sasha came and got to talk to us one of those days, Nathan, and she, in my opinion, is acting like a construction therapist. 100% and she's really good at it. Oh, she's the best I've learned all my tricks from her. For sure.

Nathan Wood  29:07  
And that is Yeah, I mean, that's what happens when software companies reached that sort of elevated state of really we've done all we can do and now the industry needs to do its part so all that's left to do is help them do their part which you know The L Word it can mean a lot of things it can mean the leadership right and kind of like what is the the leadership that is needed to really drive this stuff and starting there and then letting that fall into lean and then fall into standards and then fall into technology

Felipe Engineer  29:38  
Yep, and then the best Oh word the love put off back into construction all about love.

Nathan Wood  29:43  
Well, because it's all about Maslow's hierarchy of needs. I mean Sasha talks about that all the time of you know once you've got your your food, water shelter, basically you're getting paid right like is the business that your your mass losses are you getting paid, then above that is the relationships right? It's that that love that security. All those aspects that lead you towards that elevated flow state that this self actualization that we all strive to strive strive for. But yeah, it's love is a huge component of it. Well, son,

Felipe Engineer  30:13  
Nathan, well look at that. That is your You're like a technologist, but you're posing as a technologist, really a psychologist and philosopher.

Nathan Wood  30:22  
I mean, all my podcasts are like Adam Grant, you know, organizational psychologist, Simon Sinek, you know, that all bring a brown on vulnerability and courage leads to like that, that's the stuff that I get off on and think is everything that this industry is missing, because I've gotten plenty of fill of technology. And you know, it'll continue to grow. But it's the whole psychology thing, and especially the behavioral economics, and the whole go into, you know, Daniel Kahneman and Prospect Theory and Robert Taylor and his nudge book and kind of this, this whole idea of how do we nudge people in the right direction, rather than whipping them in the right direction, which I think is a lot of the tactics we use in this industry. So yeah, there's so much we can learn. And that's often my challenge that I get identified or labeled whatever is is more of a technologist. But really, it's I've elevated beyond that it is more about psychology, and leadership and culture that then leads into lean standard practices and all these models and frameworks that then leads into a CBA to choose the best technology that meets those needs. No,

Felipe Engineer  31:28  
I really appreciate that a lot, Nathan, and Nathan, with my appreciation of what you just said. Can you talk a little bit about the name of your company spectrum AC? It's very interesting name.

Nathan Wood  31:41  
Yeah. So yeah, one words, spectrum AC. When I first told colleague Laurie Spitler, it took her back to whatever LGBTQ groups and was like, No, you don't want to do that. But at the same time, like diversity is such a huge component in a lot of what I preach. I mean, our tagline is, we build people. And that, you know, we didn't want to be a lean consultancy. We didn't want to be a BIM consultancy. We didn't want to be any of those things. We wanted to be the precursor to that the the Nemo washy, as we were talking about earlier, of preparing the the soils for planting to get those organizations or get those product teams ready to go through a much more intensive, much more structured lean framework Scrum session. That Frankly, I'm a little bit too scatterbrained to be a good Scrum Master. Yeah, I'm a great participant. But

Felipe Engineer  32:36  
I'm gonna tell you right now, Nathan, that knowing the framework like I do, you're a natural product owner all day long. Yes. Yeah, totally. Totally. I would agree. I would agree. What I know. Yeah. And we need we need good product owners out there.

Nathan Wood  32:52  
Definitely, yes. And even like teaching others how to be a product owner, right. Because like being a product owner means being vulnerable and sharing the realities of it, knowing that people aren't going to judge you. They're just trying to understand you. Because too often the customers go into those meetings with some expectation of what they're supposed to say, or what it's like the folks that take the Myers Briggs, and always end up with as an ENFP, which is quote, unquote, supposed to be like the CEO, one, once like a guy's you can fake your personality test if you want to. Because if you're if you have the emotional intelligence to know what the answer should be, you'll give the answer that society tells you to give, rather than really looking inside yourself and giving your honest answer. And so I think that's the key to being a good product owner is like being honest with yourself, right? And being able to communicate those honest challenges and what you're dealing with, so that those that are solving it can can really, truly empathize.

Felipe Engineer  33:51  
Now you're making me flashback to some of the scrum training that we do we teach new Scrum masters, like how a product owner loses trust with their team. The first bullet point is they don't tell the truth. That's a great way to lose trust. Why do people do that a lot in this industry, where to put it as part of the curriculum to teach people because it's not super obvious in the in the construction industry or in some other industries as well. So I love that.

Nathan Wood  34:24  
And one of the things just to the IPD point is I'm such an IPD fan. But knowing when IPD fails is when folks go into those types of agreements, and think that they can still lie, and that there's any reason to lie. It's like I get guys, that's why you sign this contract is to not lie. Like why would you want to hide something that is not in our best interest to hide, and it was because they were ashamed. It's like just getting people's heads through that is a huge, huge wall that this industry needs to get through frankly, before any of the lean or BIM or technology stuff will take hold is sort of that that sixth sense that awakening of like, Oh crap, I didn't think about this the wrong way the whole time. And I mean, that's, that's, that's my favorite days is the workouts when I can see that person that goes to that moment. I'm like, Oh crap, I thought I thought I had this all figured out. And you just blew my mind where I'm gonna have to rethink everything like Okay, cool. I did my job. Like we got one more we got one more in the camp.

Felipe Engineer  35:26  
One more I want to give a shout out on the on the table. One more Nathan just reminded me that we got some really good feedback from a superintendent just today. Shout out to Eddie, thank you for listening. Your words of appreciation definitely motivating me and Nathan to keep doing stuff like this helping our industry get better. Eddie, thank you for working to make our industry better, wherever you are. Appreciate you. And that those little moments, Nathan, like you said, I'm glad that owners that do IPD actually audit the numbers. So because they're going to tell like we're gonna hold ourselves accountable. We're going to audit this with a third party. And like, let's just be honest, it's okay to make money like the IPD projects that are successful. People make a ton more money than on the Let's fight and hire lawyers. Well, we have to hire lawyers, only the lawyers when it doesn't matter if your side wins in the end, you're in the wrong paradigm. You're in a win lose paradigm. You're in a fixed mindset paradigm. And I know that you're into you got to be into Carol Dweck, if you're into Rene brown grit Yeah,

Nathan Wood  36:29  
I I bring up her soft grip. Yep. Yep. grit. Absolutely. No, that's that stuff is a huge comment and something that, frankly, I need to educate myself more on because I find myself not really fully understanding that line of grit of like, when is it good? And when is it bad? Right? Like is grit, grit? grit? Is it good? I mean, a lot of us in construction, look at grit as being a good thing. That's how you persevere. That's how you get through things. But like, at what point does grit become burnout and you don't realize the inefficiency you're creating? Because you're masking, you're not being honest with yourself, you're lying to yourself and saying that you're okay, when you're not. And and that whole, just uncomfortableness of starting to have that growth mindset. I have to say I was in one workshop where an older gentleman actually called out on the slide that I had up of explaining fixed mindset versus growth mindset. And he challenged me as to why is it so bad to have a fixed mindset? Like what why can't I have a fixed mindset, and at the time, I was very taken back. And I think I would probably have a better response today. And that's what those those workshops are for. I mean, I learned as much of them as, as the audience does, for me. But there's so much to that, that point of accepting what it means to really have a growth mindset and accepting other opinions, accepting diverse generations, diverse genders, diverse opinions from from different stakeholders, that's gonna be so much at the core of what's missing in this whole innovation process.

Felipe Engineer  38:01  
And I think just to steal your brilliance from earlier, it's a spectrum, you're gonna have some people that are to growth mindset, or it's like almost obnoxious. And you'll equally have on the spectrum going around the circle, the obnoxious, fixed mindset people. And I think for for a better outcome, especially when you're doing future thinking. You got to have both, you need to hear both voices. So you can really understand where are we Where should we go. And people flex like I there are some things where I act in a fixed mindset. And there's some things where I'm totally growth. And for the most part, I think people would incorrectly classify me as whatever they think it is because I'm too in the spectrum for you to classify me in one way.

Nathan Wood  38:42  
Well, and actually the way you just described that I would say that's not fixed and growth mindset that's Thinking Fast thinking slow, Daniel Kahneman. Right. You're using your first brain you're quick, reactive, instinctual, because you've trained your brain well, to do your non thinking, reaction and response versus your slow thinking would be taking that time being a growth mindset, is this rethinking and questioning yourself and reassuring that that would be the slow thinking. So it's, and I'm sure if you ask asked charolette s, and then they probably say that there's overlap between the two. But I would say that yeah, it's more of a slow and fast thinking. In that case.

Felipe Engineer  39:19  
They're slow fast thinking or just diversity of thought, is we need more of it. We need the spectrum. I want the full spectrum, the full spectrum AC,

Nathan Wood  39:28  
which means AMC, right and right, whether it's conferences, whether it's project teams, like my goal is to be doing these types of Agile design thinking Scrum workshops, with project teams like it with the owner, and the contractor and everyone that has already gone through some sort of a culture Academy or they've gone through that organizational transformation. But I found myself now doing a lot more of this organizational transformation, because that really is the precursor to being able to do these projects. But again, it's like being always a few years ahead. So my goal with spectrum AC has always been to help project teams at the intersection of ANC. But right now, it seems to be mainly a trade contractors MEP, and general contractors and those technologies that serve them that are raising their hand saying, Yeah, we know what we don't know. And we want to work together to learn more about it. So hopefully, that'll continue to grow, continue to grow to owners, and then make its way down to the to the project level.

Felipe Engineer  40:25  
Now we're seeing massive shifts, like you mentioned, all these lean tools that you're good at, you're doing workshops on but then you're also focusing on the culture part the people side and living up to your your philosophy of building people up for your organization. I think it's important to note that there is a shift in the industry, it's been happening for a little bit, like you mentioned, and we're spending more time like of all the things that you offer, it seems like you're mixing in the culture part, the soft skills part, probably every time that a safe assumption,

Nathan Wood  40:55  
you almost has to be Yeah, and and a lot of this has been, you know, a COVID pivot, you talked about, you know, agility and stuff. One of the things we did with construction progress coalition, because we were primarily an organization that focused on going to live events and conferences and having meetups at those bigger events, whether they were technology on us university or poker ground break or or an AGC it forum. But now that we had to go virtual, we said, okay, well, we're pretty technology savvy already, let's figure out what we can do with zoom, let's see what we can do with these breakout rooms, and really was able to take over what was that void of the kind of interconnection and folks turning on video cameras, you know, something that was an unheard of thing to do, you know, pre COVID, but nobody would ever even I wouldn't really turn my camera on unless it was some sort of a meeting where it was, uh, accepted to, I think it's interesting how, again, but that much that that culture has shifted to allow these things to happen. So the more we can use these opportunities, like COVID, or this new stimulus package, or whatever else, as you know, the the silver linings to help us drive forward, what we really need, which is some level of standardization, that also somehow makes our lives easier. So I can think of a bunch of you know, iPhone and other you know, examples where that's happened over long periods of time. But it's really hard to do that in the b2b world, and especially with an ADC

Felipe Engineer  42:18  
it is because it's very disconnected industry remains very disconnected and siloed, just the nature of how we things are procured delivered, and there are 11 million people in the US working in construction, and I heard the stat for worldwide, it's one out of six people are in the construction supply chain one way or the other from, you know, owners that are serial builders, to developers, real estate folks, support groups, technology companies. That's all in that one out of six. It's a massive number of people on planet Earth, changing our environment every day. And I think I wanted to ask you about what would you offer some advice to somebody that's struggling to make a change in their organization? Make them? Because you've been you've been the changement? Well,

Nathan Wood  43:04  
I think you're gonna have to clarify for me which persona we're talking about, are we talking about an executive leader, a middle manager, or a fresh, young, young out of college? Green horn?

Felipe Engineer  43:15  
Oh, that's a different answer for all three, now that I have a venue, let's start door number one, two, or three, I'm gonna go with the door in the middle, let's go middle management, somebody who's been in the business for about a decade, and they're struggling to make a change on their project, what would you tell them?

Nathan Wood  43:34  
You know, I would look at and do a root cause analysis. I think a lot of times when we we struggle, and oftentimes play the victim and try and point fingers at why we can't change something that we want to change. What I try to do is I try and look at is this challenge that I'm facing internal to my organization, meaning it's coming from executives down? Or is it external, because I'm most likely a project manager coming from my project owner. And it's sort of this this rift between what my executives need internally and what my project owner client needs externally, and so often that that rub happens sort of at that intersection. So the more that they can articulate in a business logic, the impact and the waste and the frustration that they're facing, and not just have it sound like complaining, but have it be more of a compelling message and a story of, well, you know, what I've learned through my research is that, through each project with this amount of time spent by each project manager equates to, you know, X number of dollars of waste every year that our company faces. Like, I would like to propose that we solve this problem by doing x and it's like who's gonna say no to that when there's a an extremely compelling business case around that. So for those that are middle managers, it's you know, follow the money that that as much as I hate that because I'm, I'm not that type of person. I'm not motivated by money. I'm not in sales. I'm very much the mastery of skill person that's like, hey, just pay me enough so that I can go be creative. And I'll be happy to and a lot of engineers are that way too. But yeah, knowing what those motivations are and using them to your advantage, that's really the emotion, emotional intelligence that allows you to move up in organizations, because at a certain level, doesn't matter how technically savvy you are, if you don't have some level of business and psychology and emotional intelligence, you can't continue to move up in the organization, you can't get the changes that really ultimately you want.

Felipe Engineer  45:26  
No, that's great advice. And, Nathan, you're hitting on a trend that's happening right now in the industry, there is a record breaking number of people quitting their jobs in organizations where they're leaving in droves, because the the emotional intelligence of the leadership in those organizations is as low and people just said, I'm not going to put up with this anymore. And they're leaving, I just heard a statistic at a conference last week that the attrition rate or the the turnover rate in construction is like 5% per month, currently, according to labor statistics here, the United States, which means like, for every 100 people on your job, five people are gonna quit every month. Like just because like they're done with the industry. And that we have like over 1 million unanswered job openings, and the numbers growing. I just saw an article in Yahoo Finance today. That is the hottest employment market in the history of history for employment markets. So now, what are you saying I should go look for a job is I do a good job. So what advice would you give an executive? What's your experience? With your experience? Like if there was an executive firm that's trying to implement some technology, and there's their company struggling to get adoption? What advice would you give them?

Nathan Wood  46:50  
culture, culture, culture, I think that that's, that's why frankly, when you talk to Sasha, I know what what she'll say about progress culture Academy is that the, the customers were coming in and saying, We don't know how to retain and grow our talent, that that that was actually their biggest challenge. And that they saw progress ability to grow just exponentially. And it's like this company in Carpinteria, you know, just south of Santa Barbara, which, frankly, their airport is a lot more sizable now than it was before, but you wouldn't think of as like, some business tech hub, right? But yet, they can cater all these people and and set up the appropriate remote work. And they just, they have a culture that is more accommodating for this new digital remote work kind of flexible, results oriented work environment, culture. And so the more that those in the executive positions, resist this, this, you know, natural tendency towards this newer way of thinking this newer work life balance or life life work balance, as we're calling it now. I think, you know, it's, it's a, if, if you're frustrated with it, but yet you're not willing to change your own practices internally. Well, I'm pretty sure that's that fixed mindset we were just talking about, right? I don't know how to help you, other than, until you're ready to admit that you have a fixed mindset. And that that is a bad thing. Like, it doesn't have to be a bad thing. It's a natural tendency. We all have, you know, natural deficiencies. And we all have natural tendencies. But that fixed mindset is more or less driven by fear. And so much of what is our inability to grow and to innovate is driven by fear. So the more that we can understand that and get rid of it, I think, to your point on the transitions in the number of turnover, I think a lot of that is the fact that because so many are remote working, and they realize that working for another company really isn't any different. Because you're not committing to a different office, you're not you're not really doing anything different. So it actually makes that trend, it makes that barrier of grass is always greener, or fear of the unknown, less, because it actually isn't that different to change jobs, especially when the pay is more and there's competitive marketplaces. So I feel for the executives out there trying to hire and all I can say is, you know, change your culture recognize, you know, where those blind spots are, those legacy policies are, get rid of them, and, and tell people that you used to have them and you don't have them anymore. And you're going through a change process. And that vulnerability is extremely appealing. And we'll build a lot of trust with those folks. And I think you'll get some, some great folks on board.

Felipe Engineer  49:23  
Like that honesty, too, that you're talking about opening up and just being honest about, you're in a train, you're going to change, you're in a change process, and it's going to be clunky, it's not going to be perfect. But if leadership tells people like your advisement, and I think that's fantastic advice needed, like a we're in a change, like we used to have it this way, for one reason or the other. We see that it doesn't work and we're trying to shift to something that works for us. And the US is like everybody in the company, it's the executive and the people. It takes everybody to build some of the things we do are just very complex and you just one person doesn't have all the skills to pull it off. Love that advice, Nathan Thank you. I don't know the cutting edge technology stuff like don't say blockchain whatever you do don't say blockchain. Drink. Okay, I gotta take a shot. blockchain. Yeah, it is late enough in the afternoon digital twins the other one that digital twin blockchain aetherium two we should which Miriam?

Nathan Wood  50:23  
Well okay, so I'll clarify right there. So aetherium is a specific platform for developing on blockchain that has its own currency which is the ether that is different than Bitcoin. But Bitcoin is purely a financial transaction more or less a bank, whereas it doesn't do things like smart contracts. And aetherium is something that essentially is the intersection of smart contracts and payment systems and would compete with something like a an IBM hyper ledger or Korda is another system so like, just like you've got Procore and then 360 and new format you've got these different systems and that but they're all fall under the umbrella of blockchain, which is a distributed ledger technology DLT

Felipe Engineer  51:12  
and then we don't have any marks on here so we don't have to say all the modularization acronyms which they're like we need an entire encyclopedia industrialized

Nathan Wood  51:19  
construction. Yeah, don't don't make me quota, because all screwed up. But she she's done a great job. And that's been a fun kind of back and forth discussion. That to watch her really solidify those different categories of Yeah, industrialized construction that go from what is it? Yeah, that individual components to multi trade assemblies all the way to your volumetric and modular and I mean, that the whole advancing prefabrication conference where I saw her last down in Dallas a couple months ago, like the conversations of just what is the defining separation between those different categories, I mean, that that's a big discussion that those that are experts in it are still having. So it's still very much a new a new frontier for it for those but the big academic these days, though, is dfma, designed for manufacturing and assembly, which is again, then BIM enabled. But a huge component that I like to talk about within the larger industrialized construction and prefab is this need for dfma as the nimble washi to prefabrication.

Felipe Engineer  52:18  
And I was telling Nathan, before we got started that I don't actually speak Japanese, but I read a lot of books and because Japanese words that will come out. And when the first time I saw them awash a was in john Chuck's book about managing to learn the three problem solving process, which I absolutely love. And it's just, it's just out of reach. It's always close. It's three feet away, but I can't really lean over and grab it. And it's that, can you tell people because you said you've just recently learned what number washi is, what does it mean?

Nathan Wood  52:44  
Yes, credit to Nick Massey, at Haley and Aldrich, for educating me. And we're going to be doing an upcoming roundtable that the recording will be again on YouTube to look at, but my understanding is, again, preparing the soil for planting. So what what is the foundational elements? What are this sort of that the pre planning efforts in our world, it'd be a lot of the pre construction, right? before you're going to do that hard work, what is that necessary preparation. So you know, when the more I hear and understand how Japanese culture and how the original link culture defines that, you know, it aligns a lot with our cost influence curve, and, and a lot of these, you know, arguments for IPD and design build and the use of BIM to be able to do preparation and do more preparation earlier. So that when you actually go to fabricating, when you cross that boundary of realization, that you're much more prepared. So I think it's that recognition that while some people may look at that as unnecessary effort and waste, it actually is the necessary preparation that allows you to truly be efficient when you hit that big, impactful construction phase.

Felipe Engineer  53:49  
Yes, yes. How do you do perfectly, I don't have to even use it as a pop quiz. Preparing the soil and getting ready. A lot of the innovation that comes out, you mentioned some great schools. Yes. Amazing background, University of Austin, Texas. Okay. And then you mentioned Penn State. Did you study at Penn State? Are you just just a fan of the work come out of there?

Nathan Wood  54:10  
Yeah, I did not study I was colleagues with Shane Goodman, who is actually one of the co authors on the Penn State vim guide for owners, and john Messner, who leads up that department, their friends and colleagues with him. And so they've done they're really kind of pioneers and leaders in the industry when it comes to BIM standards, and BIM adoption. So I've been to Happy Valley I presented on campus before but did not attend there. And then definitely a big Stanford fan as well as you go to the west coast. And everything that Martin Fisher is doing with scifi is just, you know, really phenomenal, cool, kind of leading edge stuff of what is possible in a laboratory environment. And so I love to see what they can come up with, but then I'm always challenging. I'm like, okay, but that's in a laboratory environment, show me a real world project where that works. And then we're back in The same social problems that, you know, I like to play in

Felipe Engineer  55:02  
a good pedigree. So, you know, with that prepping the soil like that a lot of the technology foundations, you know, come out of research and or startup companies, you know, trying to solve problems for business business problems. So I think, you know, there's a little bit of resistance in the construction industry, with people saying that lean is too academic,

Nathan Wood  55:23  
but that's the great inflection real quick on that, though, is is the gen Generation X, realization that that waking up point of, Oh shit, the boss that I've been listening to, and building my career, the entire time, has a vision that is going nowhere. And what do I do now, when all I've ever done is look up to my boss. And you actually have to look down to the millennials that have that leisure spirit have that drive? And again, that's not me saying that. That's the scientist, whatever, social scientists saying that, and it's Gen X is going, Okay, I'm in a leadership position. At what point Am I going to reject what those above me have always said and start listening to what those below me have said, it's like listening to your younger brother younger sister, you're like, I even if you're right, I don't want to I don't want to hear that.

Felipe Engineer  56:13  
Like, I hear the right way from you. But it sounds wrong. Yeah, exactly. So yeah, I digress. Thank you for the clarification. So you've got, you know, people resisting it saying it's academic, but hasn't hasn't research and testing things given us everything we have today?

Nathan Wood  56:31  
Well, so my, maybe this response, maybe it's not, but I my rub on lean construction is the over productization of the last planar system. And and sort of this over simplifying what lean really is into this, oh, well, if you just do these, you know, few things, then you're doing lean. It's like, Whoa, not exactly. That's a step one, but I would argue No. And so I think it but because anything other than the last planner system is academic. I think that's why it gets that rub, or that's why that's why it gets. Yeah, it's perceived that way. But I think that there are so much especially because of technology, that through that intersection of what is Agile software development, and how that's it kind of injecting its way through software into the industry. I think that we're we're consuming lean, we just don't even know it. We're consuming it and all these other ways and shapes and forms and and through the apps that we use, that folks may be using Trello and have no idea that it's based in all these can ban and other you know, origins, they just using Trello. And so I think that's where we will see it great get greater adoption, and that the perception may always continue to be that lean is academic, because it is the academic side of it. And by the time you are implementing it. It's not actually called lean anymore.

Felipe Engineer  57:57  
That's called business.

Nathan Wood  57:58  
Yeah, it's just called business and those with the lien designation should love that. Like we should celebrate that right. It shouldn't be compartmentalize, it should just be embedded within what you do. Yeah, it's just part of business.

Felipe Engineer  58:11  
I'll drink to that, Nathan. Yeah. Cheers. Drink. Drink. You said agile. So I have a drink. Drink one fragile. Yep. One for lean one for business, people entering the workforce now. And even some of the interns that I've gotten the privilege to speak for some high school students as well. They have no fear about adopting lean zero. They're fearless. But at least the students that I've talked to they, they learn some of these concepts in school. And they hear about how things used to be. And they probably also hear their parents complaining at nauseum of how not fun work is, right? So they have this good, realistic contrast. But what about those people in the middle that are a little bit older? They're not going anywhere? We have five generations working in construction. Nathan, what about the the older generations that might be afraid of lean? What would you offer them as a good entry point to expand their horizon or just get a little exposure? That's not last planner system?

Nathan Wood  59:07  
Gosh, yeah, I mean, my first question be like, let's really dive into what you're afraid of like, that sounds like there's a lot more there to unpack. That's a whole therapy session right there. Right. But, I mean, besides that fact of like unpacking, why do you want to do lean in the first place? I mean, like it because there are a lot of different reasons I think why folks do adopt lean, you know, some of it is truly bottom dollar driven. Others it's more of like a kind of a cultural, just, you know, this is how we want to drive our culture and that they have better retention and other things you know, through that. I think that there are a lot of reasons why someone would want to adopt lean, and and if the term lean if it creates too much of a stigma, just change the name of it. I mean, it's org make up a new one. That's why I made up CDs, Common Data Exchange, we really call it is is You know, a work structuring framework for project data interoperability between systems. And so it's it's taking a lot of the stuff that is very academic and very lean. But by not saying the word lean, and just, you know, creating little footnote references that if anyone really wants to dig, they can know that it is because they should know this lien. But I think if we actually under emphasize it, and just kind of continue to spoon feed it through technology, that we can have our cake and eat it too. And I'd actually like to talk more about the rift between lean and technology. And maybe that might have been might have been where you're going. It's like, why is still perceived like lean and technology can't be one in the same that you have to do it tactile for it to be lean. It can't be technical, is it? Do you feel like that still, there's still those that stayed that I know, you don't agree with that? I

Felipe Engineer  1:00:47  
just heard, I just heard that today, like, I think will depend on the kit. I mean, for people that don't know, I used to think because that's how I learned that you got to do a very tactile. And you know, reflecting back on this with my mentor, Jeff, Jeff Sutherland. He said, You've got to give people the experience. That's the important thing is like what the experience is, is not as important as the experience. So whether it's like with physical paperwork or different technology, I mean, the parent

Nathan Wood  1:01:14  
iPad with a really slick app on it. Yeah, like as long as you're

Felipe Engineer  1:01:18  
playing with experience. Even language, Nathan is technology, because you can't read my mind yet? Not yet. But I know you're thinking about it. And so I think I think you're onto something there's definitely a rift between there's like a camp of people that think that it has to be completely analog. And then there's a camp that thinks it's not cutting edge or it's not good enough if it's not completely digital. Go ahead and unpack that a little bit. Yeah,

Nathan Wood  1:01:43  
so I always look at because I strive to be digital and I'll give a quick backstory is the the the construction site Common Data Exchange, cb x that we've developed through construction progress coalition. It started as, again, magnets, physical magnets on whiteboards, because we were going to conferences, and you do need that I've got, you know, post notes right here that I still use analog, because when you're in that free thought the technology actually is a burden. And it gets in the way. But I think part of that is because the technology is not good enough to be better than what that analog alternative solution is. And so that that tells me that technology needs to get better to be more intuitive and more flexible for those scenarios, so that it feels as if you're doing it in that analog state, but yet, you're still getting the benefit of capturing that data and capturing their profile information, all those things that would have to be typed in by someone later, when you're registering them. But it's all it's already registered. I mean, that's that's the beauty of this. And the same reason why, you know, books that Jeff Jeff's Red Book and and Steve Jobs biography, that the dozen books that I've actually read in my career are all on my iPhone, all on my iBooks. And I love that I have that point of reference to go back to and I have all those highlights to go back to and all that searchability. And there are folks that will tell me all day long and 10 times on Sunday, that they have to have a paper book, and they have to have that feeling because that's just that's the experience that they get. And I get that I can empathize with it. I just I don't agree with it. Like, I don't feel that. So I think half of it is recognizing, when is that, okay? And and then when are other times when having that feeling is actually selfish and to the detriment of the team. Because that's that whole, you know, balance of continuous improvement and respect for the individual. Like, yes, we should listen to the individual that's complaining about not liking what they're being forced to do. But do they actually understand why at a higher level, from a continuous improvement standpoint, we're doing this in the first place. And so it's like both could be right, and both can be wrong at the same time. And it goes back to this dilemma of lean, and I think why people get so frustrated with it, because it isn't a cut and dry. It's not Catholic. Right and wrong. It's very Buddhist, sort of culture and mentality of Well, it depends. And and a lot of the folks that are fixed mindset that need that. Yes, no answer. They don't like 50 Shades of Grey, they want that black and white. And that, again is something that I can't help them. All I can say is the world is changing. So you can either go home and retire or you can change with it. I know it seems harsh, but I've kind of got to that point now.

Felipe Engineer  1:04:25  
And he's still very young ladies. Sorry. I'm not sorry. Because already sorry, not sorry. Cool. Putting song lyrics in this podcast is had everything it said song lyrics and sad philosophy. It's had way more psychology than I would have ever imagined. I love it. I love it. Nathan. Nathan, you have been a pleasure to have on the show. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts with us on technology psychology, spectrum AC. And one more time you're there nonprofit construction progress coalition.

Nathan Wood  1:04:57  
So yeah, let me know when I can come back. This has been Joy and are thrilled to have this conversation and keep doing what you're doing I have to say yeah, of all the Lean podcasts. I do listen to yours because I feel like we're we're closest aligned I I have a lot of grudges with the lean community as much as I empathize and love everyone there. I as you can tell, I get frustrated as a millennial.

Felipe Engineer  1:05:19  
That's healthy that that means healthy. Yeah, it's a good drive. And construction progress coalition. I love it. That's a good section. Yep. Construction good place to find them. You're you're giving back and you're sharing so much. And people go find his YouTube channel. We'll have the links in the description below. So you can click on it, subscribe. There are some fascinating videos there. I watch their videos. I'm subscribed. So I recommend Nathan's work to everybody. Thank you for having me. It's great. And don't be so scared of the tech. It's inevitable. Very special thanks to my guest. I'm Felipe Engineer Manriquez. The EBFC show is created by Felipe and produced by passion to build easier and better. Thanks for listening. Stay safe, everybody. Let's go build!


Nathan WoodProfile Photo

Nathan Wood

Chief Enabling Officer

Nathan C. Wood is an innovation influencer across the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry. Nathan’s experience with Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), Lean process improvement, and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) has led him to realize how even proven technology solutions can often result in adoption failure and lost ROI. As Executive Director of the Construction Progress Coalition (, Nathan blends his passion for open collaboration with real-world skepticism to produce a pragmatic strategy digital standards adoption in design and construction. When not fighting for open standards, Nathan also supports the people and process transformation as Chief Enabling Officer of SpectrumAEC. Nathan continues to support industry progress through speaking engagements, research publications, and workshop facilitation.