Blog: The digital transformation is about changing individual contributor’s mentalities and culture

June 26, 2020

Blog: The digital transformation is about changing individual contributor’s mentalities and culture

The word “digitalization” has been broadly used by associating it to everything and anything that relates to the use of computers or online tools such as tele conferences, online collaboration, Virtual or Augmented Reality and 3D design environments. I would like to offer a complementary view of what digitalization means in a way that expands the casual use of the word.

In my view, the digital transformation is about changing individual contributor’s mentalities and culture. The traditional culture dictating that “things have always been done that way” and that a senior engineer will necessarily educate younger engineers on tools and methodologies is gradually becoming obsolete. While the knowledge and experience transfer to younger engineers remains invaluable to the organization, we are witnessing a change whereby younger engineers are proposing and adapting new methodologies that use the full power of modern digital tools now available to us. True digitalization involves shifting the culture of the company to open up to a new way of working while preserving and transforming existing experience and knowledge. Purchasing software tools is easy, but the cultural paradigm shift will take time, will last longer, and will result in more resilient and agile work processes.

In this framework, at Linxon we are adopting several ideas:

  • The culture and values are set by management and lived by the organization; The construction of an innovative environment is a distributed collaborative effort. The adoption of these values on our day-to-day work is a collective effort led by subject matter experts who strive to remain open for ideas.

  • It is often useful to view the digital strategy in terms of improving communication and collaboration. The root of all digitalization is to streamline with digital tools the way we manage information. This of course translates directly into agility and predictability.

  • Tools and technology are a necessary enabler but not a final objective by itself. The perception that digital simply equals a set of tools needs to be uprooted and defeats the purpose of doing more with less.

Linxon’s engineering team has been finding innovative ways to use tools to perform core engineering tasks as well as involving non-technical functions efficiently such as:

  • Design standard calculations, change management, and interdisciplinary coordination

  • Constructability assessment during different stages of the project design cycle. Visualization tools can very quickly communicate the main features of the design to functions which are not necessarily design experts.

  • Safety by design, where a Building Information Model environment allows to simulate a project’s construction sequence, identifying major safety risks. Moreover, the visualization of the final substation allows the owner to provide early input to the safety considerations during operations.

  • Client interaction starting with sales, design reviews and vendor coordination.

In this journey, the biggest challenge has been the internal stakeholder engagement and proving to our own employees that this is the future. Therefore, instead of being focused on the tools alone, we are focusing on encouraging out-of-the-box thinking and more importantly, giving people the freedom to innovate and propose ideas is key to the adoption of an innovative culture that harnesses the power of the digital world.

Jose Restrepo
Global Head of Engineering, Linxon