There are many different definitions of the Scientific Method but they all pretty much say the same thing. Here is my version for BIM which should be close enough to other versions:
- Recognize a Problem (or Ask a question, Make an observation, etc)
- Form a Hypothesis
- Conduct an Experiment
- Analyze Data
- Draw a Conclusion
Now I think that the results from most BIM experiments do a good job at executing steps 1 through 5. Its step 6 that is horribly neglected. Step 6 is about allowing yourself and others to retest and experiment to see if the hypothesis holds up in all cases. The current method of doing this is to release our findings out into the world telling others to use our idea, template, process, or workflow. And that's it. There is no criteria for its use and there is no feedback.
Lets look at an example. Imagine you create a template to help guide you through some BIM purpose. You Form a hypothesis on how a team will work with the template. You might retest it internally until it works for a given project. After some small success you send it out to the world. At that point everyone else takes it and finds subtle things they would do different with the template. They alter it and use it for their own purposes. They also report nothing back about how effective it was.
Does this sound like a good experiment? Were the alterations made to the template in direct conflict with the hypothesis that was used to create it? How can the template be improved to be used in all cases if nothing is reported back? Is everything in BIM so "open" that it is not capable of evolving?
It seems to me that as a BIM community we need to learn to work together a little more. We need to stop trying to recreate everything when its not perfect. Instead we need to use some things in their imperfect form and then correctly document the issues and release that information back to the BIM community. This will actually move processes forward faster.
I am going to reveal something here that may be a bit surprising to some people. The BIM template, process, tool, or workflow that you altered from its originial state is not better than the original. Its just different. When you alter items in this way you do not add value to the BIM community. You water down the BIM community by creating paths that are divergent from the end goal of working together.
I don't want to discourage innovation. We should all strive to create new BIM Experiments that bring value to the industry. We should all work to improve BIM by providing constructive criticism about our common tools and processes. We should get past the idea that what any one individual does is so unique that it requires them to branch off on their own. You are not special. Your market is not special. Your contract type is not special. We are all doing the same thing. We should be solving these problems together. Only when we decide to do that can we help our BIM Experiments evolve.