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Putting people at the core of digitalisation in the water sector

Byadmin

Dec 6, 2022
Putting people at the core of digitalisation in the water sector
Putting people at the core of digitalisation in the water sector

BIM4Water is partnering with the £5m Made Smarter Innovation: Centre for People-Led Digitalisation to ensure people are at the heart of digital transformation

Digital technologies have the potential to transform the UK water sector and provide real-time efficiencies back to the water companies and their customers. Despite this, the sector is not adopting digital technologies as quickly as was hoped. This delay has been attributed not to any technical challenge, but barriers created by people and the working culture within the sector.

A new partnership between BIM4Water and the £5m Made Smarter Innovation: Centre for People-Led Digitalisation aims to address this challenge by ensuring people are at the heart of business digitalisation initiatives.

New innovation centres will explore the challenges facing digitalisation of the water sector

The Made Smarter Innovation: Centre for People-Led Digitalisation is one of five initial centres funded under the Made Smarter Innovation Programme, delivered by UK Research & Innovation (UKRI). The work of the centres covers both technological and societal aspects, focusing on addressing people’s needs within the industry-identified challenges. As part of their research, all Made Smarter Innovation centres are to consider societal and cultural change – managing the disruptive impact of digital technologies. Where the Made Smarter Innovation: Centre for People-Led Digitalisation differs from the other centres is that people and culture are its primary research focus.

The Made Smarter Innovation: Centre for People-Led Digitalisation, led by the University of Bath, is a collaboration between the universities of Loughborough and Nottingham, and non-academic partners including the Environment Agency, National Highways, the Institute for Asset Management and BIM4Water.

BIM4Water is an unfunded, voluntary UK water industry forum that consists of a cross-industry group open to all organisations involved in the management and delivery of water and wastewater assets. Focused on the digital space, it undertakes activities in all aspects of “Better Information Management” including, but not limited to, open data sharing, data quality, security and governance, 4D construction and beyond, asset data, data classification and hierarchies, and, most importantly, the human element with respect to skills and changes required to successfully drive digitalisation.

Cross-sector insight aims to develop solutions to obstacles faced by the industry

The group’s make-up is reflective of the sector, comprising clients, contractors, consultants, suppliers, subcontractors and other bodies, with work organised into a number of streams. Bringing these streams together, the group has identified that successful digitalisation depends on management of the change which addresses human and machine elements hand-in-hand.

The Made Smarter Innovation: Centre for People-Led Digitalisation aims to improve the outcomes of the adoption of digital technologies through prior explicit consideration and planned appropriate action that prioritises human needs and working patterns in the design and implementation of digitalised work systems. Simply put, it asks not what we can do with technology, but what technology can do for us.

Clare Kovacs, chair of BIM4Water, Professor Linda Newnes and Dr Susan Lattanzio, from Made Smarter Innovation: Centre for People-Led Digitalisation, explain the partnership plans and the difference it could make to the water sector.

Professor Linda Newnes, director, Made Smarter Innovation: Centre for People-Led Digitalisation said: “We are very excited about this collaboration. From the beginning, BIM4Water have been very supportive of the work we are doing with the centre. This partnership allows us to co-create research and generate understanding which will be of benefit to the water sector and beyond.”

Sharing a common vision, the aim of the BIM4Water and the Made Smarter Innovation: Centre for People-Led Digitalisation partnership is to improve adoption and the acceptance of new ways of working by putting people at the forefront of digital technology development and implementation.

A study on how neurodiversity impacts digitalisation in the water sector is due early next year

Through this new partnership, BIM4Water will gain research resources to deliver technical reports for publication into the water sector. The first area for research will consider “Does neurodiversity tailor individuals to digital roles vs traditional engineering?”. Publication of the results of this study should be available early 2023.

Clare Kovacs, Chair of BIM4Water says, “I am really excited by this Partnership. This alliance will provide us with the resources to develop guidance papers for our members. This initial research will provide valuable understanding of the opportunities to broaden and attract a wider resource pool, by understanding the psychological and social parameters which make digital delivery appealing.”

For more details of the work, contact Clare Taylor-Kovacs (bim@britishwater.co.uk) or Dr Susan Lattanzio, Made Smarter Innovation: Centre for People-Led Digitalisation (pld@bath.ac.uk)

 

Clare Taylor-Kovacs

Chair

BIM4Water

bim@britishwater.co.uk

www.britishwater.co.uk/page/BIM4Water

Linkedin

 

Dr Susan Lattanzio

Deputy director

Made Smarter Innovation: Centre for People-Led Digitalisation

p-ld@bath.ac.uk

www.bath.ac.uk/projects/made-smarter-innovation-centre-for-people-led-digitalisation/

Linkedin

Youtube



The post Putting people at the core of digitalisation in the water sector appeared first on Planning, BIM & Construction Today.


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