Structures, water, computers, languages and people (not necessarily in this order)

IT revolution, creativity and recession

Let's not pretend that things will change if we keep doing the same things (...)
Creativity is born from anguish (...)
It's in crisis that inventive is born (...)

Einstein's quotes on crisis.

The global recession is hitting almost everyone. Few months ago Sky News reported that there were nearly 15,000 job losses from June 2008 to December 2008 in the UK civil engineering sector. What is more, not only are the low-tech manufacturing jobs being shifted overseas but the high-tech jobs like mine as well.

Are there some remedies to overcome the crisis? All of us should understand that austerity and belt tightening alone will not solve most of our problems. Any integral solution passes through encouraging an optimistic creativity.

Given that Information Technologies (IT) are having a lot of relevant effects on the way of thinking of a generation of digital born graduates, I have always felt that companies should take advantage of their freshness. Generaly speaking, the mid age managers I met tend to see IT as a mere time and cost reducer forgetting that the main competitive advantage is other: with the computer we can go into our creative juices, explore our wildest imaginations, create the most fabulous designs, solve complex challenging problems and drive inexpensive innovation. Knowledge is transferred from the digital model to the real world and all kind of good and stupid solutions are tested virtually with no harm. Obviously, IT tools cannot totally substitute experience-gained human intuition but natural creativity and learning from mistakes can be boosted thanks to simulation and computer modelling.


  1. I could say construction of such projects requires knowledge of engineering and management principles and business procedures, economics, and human behavior.

  2. No doubt, all the factors you mentioned (management + technology + human beings) are important but I have impression that

    1- Those factors are not totally integrated. For example, I met two kind of managers in my life: those ones with a business administration background but with a poor knowledge of the engineering side and those ones with a strong engineering background but with some kind of emotional handicap.

    2- Companies have focused so much on naïf management (f.ex. efficiency, project management, quality control, re-engineering, etc... were the buzzwords two years ago) that the innovative and ludic spirit of engineering was forgotten or banned.

    Ok, talk is cheap but my feeling is that we should go for less copy&paste engineering and more thinking-out-of-the-box engineering and what was called computational optimism could play a key role.